ATHENS — Leave it to Georgia and Georgia Tech to introduce some drama into the NCAA Baseball Tournament. By the time the Athens Regional was over, it was swimming in it.

The Yellow Jackets had the top-seeded Bulldogs on the ropes all night Sunday. Then a solo home run from Georgia’s Kolby Branch in the top of the ninth inning got the game into extra innings tied 5-5. In the 10th, an error on Fernando Gonzalez’s sacrifice bunt scored the go-ahead run. Then Georgia would add two more on Corey Collins’ two-out double on an 0-2 count to make it 8-5.

Tech brought the winning run to the plate in the bottom of the 10th with Georgia’s No. 1 starter Leighton Finley now on the mound in relief. He struck out Yellow Jackets’ star slugger Drew Burress with the bases loaded and no outs.

Finley still had the heart of Tech’s batting order to get through. He did so by getting Matthew Ellis to fly out to center field, which scored Trey Yunger to make it 8-6 with two outs. The final out came on a ground out by John Giesler to Georgia third baseman Charlie Condon. And with that, the Bulldogs will be advancing to the NCAA Super Regionals for the first time since 2008.

“I’ll rival what I saw tonight at Foley Field with any place in the SEC,” said first-year coach Wes Johnson, who came to UGA from LSU. “It was loud, the fans were awesome, engaged. And the game, I think it’s important that you never hit the panic button. It’s the teams that can stay focused, that understand they have to get 27 outs on us, that stay in games like this.”

The number of stars to make game-defining plays for the Bulldogs was many, but Collins’ name would have to be at the top of any list. Forgotten among the extra-inning offensive fireworks is the incredible defensive play Collins and pitcher Chandler Marsh made to end the ninth inning.

With second baseman Slate Alford playing close to the bag in the middle, the first baseman Collins knew it’d be up to him get to Payton Green’s deep-chopper in the hole to his right. Tracking down the ball, Collins had the presence of mind to get the ball out of his glove and to Marsh, lumbering to the bag from the mound. Collins’ throw was low and behind Marsh, but the pitcher came up with it for the all-important third out. Otherwise, the game’s over and Tech and Georgia are playing again on Monday.

“If he doesn’t make the play, we win the game,” Tech coach Danny Hall said of Collins, who also hit .364 over the weekend and fittingly was named regional MVP.

Collins was one of seven Bulldogs to make the all-tournament team. Joining him was Charlie Condon, who hit .500 during the tournament, Slate Alford, Kolby Branch, Clayton Chadwick and Tre Phelps. Tech’s Burress and catcher Vahn Lackey also made the all-tourney team.

It was an especially long day for the Yellow Jackets. Seeded third in the regional, they had to survive an elimination game against UNC-Wilmington. They won 3-1 in a contest that spanned five hours thanks to a two-hour rain delay in the middle of it. Then, Tech had only a one-hour turnaround before facing the Bulldogs and another a sellout crowd of 3,745 at Foley Field in a game that lasted four hours and seven minutes.

“We battled, hard,” Hall said.

The Bulldogs improve to 42-15 on the season and 32-5 on their home field. Seeded seventh nationally, they will face No. 10 seed North Carolina State next weekend. The Wolfpack (36-20) defeated James Madison to win the NCAA Raleigh Regional with an undefeated run. Selections that will determine dates and start times go out on Tuesday.

Tech’s season ends at 33-25 with three losses to the archrival Bulldogs.

Johnson, a pitching coach by trade, proved himself to be a bit of a dice-roller in the deciding game. He brought in Charlie Goldstein -- his one-time Friday-night starter who hadn’t pitched since May 4 due to an arm injury -- to face to Tech slugger Burress with the game tied 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth. Locked in a 3-2 battle, Goldstein appeared to aggravate his injury on his final pitch, which resulted in walk.

“It’s too soon to know right now,” Johnson said after the game.

Staying with his high-risk strategy, Johnson turned to Matthew Hoskins. Also dogged with injuries this season, Hoskins entered the game winless with three innings of work all season and a 24.00 ERA. Hoskins induced a pair of fly-outs to Tech’s Nos. 3-4 hitters, Ellis and Giesler before issuing back-to-back walks.

With the bases loaded, that brought in another risky choice -- Marsh, an infrequently-used right-hander with a 1-0 record and 7.59 ERA. Marsh recorded just one out, but it was the biggest of the game. Daniel Padysak relieved starter Zach Harris and provided two scoreless innings. Harris proved a real hero, throwing 109 pitches and getting the Bulldogs through six innings in only his sixth start of the season.

“Every day you wake up you’ve got to believe in yourself,” Johnson said. “No matter what it is in life, you attack it and that’s something we talk about. I’m real big on, ‘you’ve got to be the hero of your imagination.’ ... You’ve got to see yourself doing great things.”

Tech was doing great things early. The Jackets broke ahead 5-2 after a four-run second inning, then the game morphed into a defensive pitcher’s duel.

Tech was still leading 5-3 and threatening with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning when a base-running blunder by Burress got the Bulldogs out of the inning. Ellis hit a rope single to left field that Georgia’s Clayton Chadwick had to run down. Burress took a big turn at second and looked like he was going to try to make it to third. He put on the brakes midway and Chadwick still had the ball. Throwing behind him to second base, shortstop Kolby Branch fielded the throw and fired to third, where Burress had re-directed. The throw to Condon beat Burress, but a nifty headfirst, rolling slide on his back made the play closer than expected. Burress was called out, and a long video review requested by Tech validated that Condon actually tagged the base-runner in the face before his hand touched the bag.

Georgia couldn’t take advantage the next inning. Collins and Condon each reached via one-out walks but were left stranded on fly-outs by Dylan Goldstein and Slate Alford.

Tre Phelps, the Bulldogs’ freshman DH, got Georgia within 5-4 with a solo home run to start the eighth. That set up the drama that would unfold the rest of the way.

“It’s confidence and belief,” said Collins, who entered the regional leading the nation in on-base percentage (.584). “We didn’t finish the season well, but Coach said, ‘guys, we’ve got to get over that hurdle.’ That really stuck with me. This was just a hurdle we had to get over, and now we’ve got to get over the next one.”