The NCAA Baseball Tournament will get underway on Friday, and there will be five Pac-12 teams represented.
Oregon State was the lone host selected from the conference. It looked recently that Washington would also be a host, but after a little bit of a struggle down the stretch, including losing the series to UCLA this weekend, the Huskies will have to travel, and travel far. UW is going to Oxford, MS as the two seed in the Ole Miss Regional.
There were two Pac-12 teams on the bubble. One got in, and one didn't. Stanford, after being hosed last year, gets in this year with a less impressive record. The Cardinal clearly benefited from scheduling tough and playing road games early in the year, as well as a strong finish.
USC did not get in, and was listed as the third team out by the selection committee. The Trojans took a series from Oregon State this weekend, which I thought would be enough to push them in, but a team like UC-Irvine got the call for that last at-large bid over the Trojans.
Oregon and Arizona State also get in as two seeds in their respective Regionals. ASU may have the best road outside of Oregon State, as they will travel to San Luis Obispo to be a part of the Cal Poly Regional. Cal Poly has not been as strong lately, and Pepperdine may actually pose the biggest threat to the Sun Devils.
Here's how the five Pac-12 Regionals shape up:
2. UNLV Rebels
3. UC-Irvine Anteaters
3. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
4. Jacksonville State Gamecocks
2. Oregon Ducks
San Luis Obispo Regional:
Just something quick here on Youngstown State. The Penguins were just 16-36 this season, with a team ERA of almost seven. They get into the field based on a fluke run in the Horizon League tournament last weekend. It kind of speaks to the absurdity that the regular season champs of a league don't get a bid in my opinion. Especially in the game of baseball, a full season's worth of work should be worth more than what you do in a conference tourney. Just my opinion. I love the conference tourneys, but think the auto-bid should go to a regular season champion in baseball.
Other past Arizona opponents in the postseason are: Mississippi State (2 seed in Lafayette), Kent State (4 seed in Louisville), and Long Beach State (2 seed in Gainesville).
ESPN will be broadcasting all of the games on their various outlets. Oregon State will be on ESPNU when they open up Friday night. The rest of the games can be found on ESPN3, WatchESPN, and on the sweet Bases Loaded program that they offer for Regional Play.
And so begins the quest for three-straight National Championships for the Pac-12.