NCAA super regionals will feature surprise teams
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Five of the eight national seeds are out of the NCAA baseball tournament after a run of regional upsets.
No. 1 Oregon State was the last to fall, losing 4-2 to UC Irvine in Corvallis, Ore., on Monday night. The Beavers joined No. 2 Florida, No. 4 Indiana, No. 5 Florida State and No. 8 LSU as regional losers.
The number of national seeds that lost in regionals matches 2007 for the most since the NCAA went to its current tournament format in 1999.
Meanwhile, surprise teams such as College of Charleston, Kennesaw State and Pepperdine are moving on to super regionals.
The College of Charleston Cougars became the fourth No. 4 regional seed to reach super regionals. Pepperdine and Kennesaw State were seeded third in their regions, as was UC Irvine and Stanford, which upset host Indiana in Bloomington.
The remaining national seeds are No. 3 Virginia, No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette and No. 7 TCU. National seeds are assured of home field for super regionals, which start Friday. Maryland plays at Virginia, Mississippi at Louisiana-Lafayette and Pepperdine at TCU.
The other matchups, whose sites will be announced Tuesday, are: College of Charleston vs. Texas Tech; Kennesaw State vs. Louisville; Texas vs. Houston; Stanford vs. Vanderbilt; and Oklahoma State vs. UC Irvine.
Winners in the best-of-three series move on to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
The last two No. 4 regional seeds to get past the first weekend of the tournament made it all the way to the CWS. Fresno State went on to win the national championship in 2008, and Stony Brook captured the imagination of the nation in 2012 when the Seawolves reached the CWS.
College of Charleston has played in a super regional before, losing at Georgia Tech in 2006 as a No. 2 regional seed. The Cougars earned an NCAA tournament bid this year by winning the Colonial Athletic Association. They beat No. 2 national seed Florida on its home field Friday and defeated Long Beach State on Saturday and again Monday.
“They are a special team to coach and they have been having so much fun the last couple weeks,” Cougars coach Monte Lee said. “I’m humbled to get to coach this incredible group and excited that we get to keep playing baseball.”
Kennesaw State, in only its fifth season of Division I eligibility, became the first team since Kansas in 1993 to go beyond regionals in its tournament debut. The Owls of the Atlantic Sun Conference have won 26 of 28 games.
“Well, we won as a NAIA program in ’94, and I told the guys today that was huge,” 23rd-year Owls coach Mike Sansing said. “In ’96 we won a Division II national championship, and that was huge. But I think this is going to put more of a stamp on Kennesaw State baseball. It’s been a long process for sure, the reclassification, but it’s great to be here today and where we are.”
Pepperdine is in super regionals for the first time after beating Cal Poly on the Mustangs’ home field. Pepperdine made it past regionals for the first time since its 1992 team won the national title.
Maryland and Texas Tech join Kennesaw State and Pepperdine as first-timers in super regionals.
The Maryland-Virginia series will be the first super regional matching ACC teams.