May 31, 2011 in Sports

Virginia top seed in 64-team NCAA baseball field

 
Zags left out

Gonzaga, the second-place team in the West Coast Conference, did not receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. WCC champion San Francisco plays at UCLA on Friday. UC Irvine and Fresno State are the other teams in that bracket.

NEW YORK – Virginia was selected Monday as the top seed for the 64-team NCAA Division I college baseball tournament.

The Cavaliers (49-9) won the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament and will host one of 16 four-team, double-elimination regionals that begin Friday.

Virginia, led by left-hander and potential No. 1 overall draft pick Danny Hultzen, opens against Patriot League champion Navy (33-23-1) in the Charlottesville regional.

“When you look at Virginia over the course of the season, it’s hard to argue that anybody has had more success than Virginia,” said selection committee chairman Tim Weiser, also the deputy commissioner of the Big 12.

The other national seeds, in order, are: Florida (45-16), North Carolina (45-14), South Carolina (45-14), Florida State (42-17), Vanderbilt (47-10), Texas (43-15) and Rice (41-19). Those teams will not have to face each other until the College World Series, if they make it there.

It’s the first time Virginia has been seeded No. 1, which doesn’t necessarily translate to success in Omaha. The only top national seed to win it all since the field was expanded in 1999 to 64 teams was Miami in ’99.

Defending national champion South Carolina will open against Southern Conference tournament champ Georgia Southern in the Columbia regional. The Gamecocks were among seven Southeastern Conference schools selected, joining Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi St. and Vanderbilt.

Also with seven teams is the ACC with Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Virginia. The Big 12 (Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M) and Pac-10 (Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon State, Stanford and UCLA) each had six teams selected.

The 16 regional winners move on to best-of-3 super regionals. Those eight winners advance to the College World Series, which begin June 18 in Omaha, Neb., at the new TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.

Miami is in the field for the 39th consecutive year, which extends its own record, while Florida State is making its 34th straight appearance.

Alcorn State, Belmont and Arkansas-Little Rock are in the regionals for the first time. Mountain West champion New Mexico (20-39) joined Alcorn State (27-28) and Arkansas Little-Rock (24-32) as teams to get in with losing records by winning their conference tournaments.

Weiser said the committee balances win-loss record, RPI, strength of schedule and regular-season finish in determining national seeds, top seeds in brackets and at-large berths.

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