Georgia lost four of its last five games and was left out when the NCAA announced its regional brackets on Monday.
“It’s definitely tough,” Georgia first baseman Colby May said. “There’s not really much you can say. It’s definitely disappointing. I’m disappointed and frustrated, pretty much.”
The Southeastern Conference sent eight teams to the NCAA regionals, including the national seeds Florida (No. 1), LSU (No. 7) and two-time defending national champion South Carolina (No. 8). Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Arkansas, Ole Miss and SEC Tournament champion Mississippi State also received NCAA bids on Monday.
“We were probably a game away, and it’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to win it,” May said. “It’s tough and it’s frustrating. We played a lot of tight games this season but we weren’t able to get it done like we needed to. This is what happens.”
Georgia (31-26) went from being a solid pick to packing up equipment for the summer by losing four of its last five games, including two of three at last-place Alabama on the final weekend of the regular season.
“We were playing well but we just couldn’t get over the hump from a big-hit standpoint,” Georgia coach David Perno said. “When we got the big hits, we got the job done. I don’t know if we were one game away or two or three games away, from looking at the field. But we just need to win more games. We had the opportunity. We played the top two teams in the country six times and we could only win one (against each). We win one more of those games and we’re probably in. That’s what we’re missing. We’re missing the piece where we need a little more fortitude and you just have to win more.”
Vanderbilt, Arkansas and Mississippi State made deep runs into the SEC Tournament to vastly improve their at-large qualifications. Mississippi State won the tournament and the automatic bid that goes with it, which took away one of the possible at-large bids that might have gone to Georgia .
Ole Miss picked up an at-large bid despite losing six of its last seven games and dropping two of three at Georgia in April. But Ole Miss’ lone win down the stretch came against top-25 ranked Arkansas in the SEC Tournament, which likely gave the Rebels the nod.
Georgia finished the season with its lowest ERA since 1977 at 3.86 and set a school record with a .978 fielding percentage. But Georgia only scored 4.89 runs a game overall.
“I can’t put my finger on it,” Perno said. “We pitched better than we have in years. We had the best defense in school history. Obviously when you look at it we didn’t score enough. But there’s more to it than that and I’ve just got to figure it out. There are some things I probably didn’t do a very good job in managing. There are some intangibles that this team was lacking. I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s hard to believe that we pitched like we did and we played defense like we did and are not getting the opportunity to play next weekend.”