OMAHA, Neb. – Losses in six of its last seven games didn’t diminish defending national champion Florida’s overall body of work when it came to seeding the NCAA baseball tournament.
The Gators (42-17) are No. 1, and there never was much doubt, NCAA Division I Baseball Committee chairman Ray Tanner said Monday after the 64-team field was unveiled.
Kevin O’Sullivan’s program is the first to earn the No. 1 overall seed three times since the tournament went to its current structure in 1999. The Gators also were top seeds in 2012 and 2016.
Play begins Friday in 16 regionals. Winners advance to eight best-of-three super regionals. Those winners move on to the College World Series in Omaha.
The NCAA seeded 16 teams for the first time. There had been eight seeds previously.
Stanford (44-10) is the No. 2 seed, followed by Oregon State (44-10-1), Mississippi (46-15), Arkansas (39-18), North Carolina (38-18), Florida State (43-17) and Georgia (37-19).
Seeds nine through 16 are Texas Tech (39-17), Clemson (45-14), Stetson (45-11), East Carolina (43-16), Texas (37-20), Minnesota (41-13), Coastal Carolina (42-17) and North Carolina State (40-16).
Florida, the regular-season champion in the Southeastern Conference, is the only team to earn a national seed in each of the last five seasons.
“Obviously, we haven’t played well lately, but coming home and having a full week of practice before the regional will certainly help,” O’Sullivan said. “We’ll try to get healthy ahead of the weekend and get some guys back on track before we play Columbia on Friday. At the end of the day, everybody has a clean slate now, and our guys will be as motivated as anyone to show everyone how good they are.”
Florida State, at 41 appearances in a row, has the longest active streak, but no national championships to show for them.
Four Pac-12 teams made the field. In addition to regional hosts Stanford and Oregon State, Washington and UCLA were selected. UCLA headed to the Minneapolis Region and Washington will play at the Conway Regional in South Carolina, hosted by Coastal Carolina.
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