2018 NCAA Baseball Regionals Evoke Memories, News, Notes

by BoCarter | Posted on Thursday, May 31st, 2018

DURHAM, NC - MAY 27: Florida State catcher Cal Raleigh (35) holding the ACC Baseball Championship trophy during the ACC Baseball Championship game between the Florida State and the Louisville Cardinals on May 27, 2018, at Durham Bulls Stadium in Durham, NC. (Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

NCAA Baseball Regionals Evoke Memories, News, Notes
DALLAS, Texas – Friday’s NCAA Division I Baseball Regionals are evoking memories of some of the hard fought NCAA Championships of the past.
Here are some news items and notes from past and current NCAA Regionals and NCAA District tourneys from the 1940s-70s:
– Mississippi State is traveling to Tallahassee, Fla., to face host Florida State and NCAA Division I winningest all-time head coach Mike Martin, who enters 2018 postseason with an all-time head coaching record of 1,987-711-4 (39 seasons – all at FSU). The Dawgs tangle with the Oklahoma Sooners in Game 1 before Martin’s Seminoles host the surprising Samford Bulldogs in the Tallahassee Regional nightcap. FSU also continues a NCAA-record 41st consecutive season in NCAA activity in a streak started by future MLB general manager and longtime MLB shortstop Woody Woodward in 1978, continued by College Baseball Hall of Fame member and Howser Trophy namesake Dick Howser in ’79 and then extended for the nest 39 seasons by the inimitable Martin.
– Interestingly, Florida State almost made it 44 in succession except for an off mark in 1977. The 1975 Seminoles trekked to Starkville, Miss., to meet LSU, Murray State and arch-rival Miami (Fla.) in the then-NCAA District 3 meet at historic Dudy Noble Field. Future award-winning broadcaster Bill Daniel of Yazoo City, Miss. (now living in the Fort Worth, Texas, area) poled a two-run homer in his home state to send the Noles past Miam9 6-5 in the finals. In those days, neutral sites made annual bids for NCAA district meets, and Starkville hosted in 1973-75. Nine years afterward, MSU traveled to Tallahassee for a “designated three-game series” against the Seminoles to determine worthiness for the NCAA field. That was when there usually was a one-week break between conference tournaments and NCAA Selection Monday for whatever slating reasons. MSU did not make the NCAA field in any of those three years as district host but received an at-large bid in 1978 to Arlington Stadium (home of the Texas Rangers) in Arlington, Texas, where State fell to coach Mickey Sullivan’s Baylor nine in the finals for a berth in in the ’78 NCAA World Series.
– Things have changed drastically (and most think, for the better) since the late 1960s and ‘70s when the NCAA Division I field varied from 28-32 teams. Later from 1975-98 that number fluctuated to 40-48 squads with some six-team NCAA Regionals and finally to the current, 64-team format in 1999. Currently, there are 31 automatic conference bids with 33 at-large participants and no plans to enlarge that group or offer play-in encounters.
– Last week’s Missouri Valley Conference Championship – the first time that Dallas Baptist hosted a DI conference meet since reaching full Division I membership in 2011 as a member of the Western Athletic Conference. Two years later the Patriots of coach Dan Heefner became part of the MVC and then captured MVC postseason tourney crowns on the road in 2014, ’15 and ’17. DBU and Missouri State (2015 and ’17) have captured the last five MVC tourney crowns. The Patriots also are an impressive 18-5 in MVC meet play since joining the circuit.
– The 2018 MVC joust was all Missouri State as 36-year head coaching veteran and nine-time MVC Coach of the Year Keith Guttin guided the Bears through four undefeated tests – 10-0 over Evansville, 4-2 over Indiana State, 9-6 over Indiana State, and 7-6 in 10 innings over Dallas Baptist in the title tilt. Bids for both MSU and DBU marked the 24th time since 1981 that the Valley managed two or more berths in the NAA tourney.
– The Southeastern Conference gained 10 bids (auto by SEC champ Ole Miss and nine other at-large selections) in ’18 to lead the nation while the ACC notched six bids. The Big 12 was next with five berths while the American Athletic, Big Ten and Pac-12 each managed four bids. Five other loops celebrated with two 2918 berths.
– Some of the schools just outside the list of 64 and with bubbles bursting were recent four-time (2014-17) NCAA World Series competitor TCU at 33-23, Kentucky (34-22), Arizona (34-22), Illinois (32-20), Missouri (34-22), Wichita State (35-21), and Louisiana Tech (39-20), among others. Tennessee Tech (48-9) has the most victories entering the NCAA meet while there is just one school with a losing record – Columbia at 20-28 from the Ivy League (and the baseball-football alma mater of Baseball Hall of Fame Iron Man Lou Gehrig).
– The 16 teams earning regional hosts’ positions have been seeded 1-16 in the 64-squad field by the NCAA, but the national selection committee certainly supplied some solid opposition for these hosts. There are many memories of such opening rounds as Sam Houston State eliminating Texas Tech last June and Missouri State upending Arkansas in the NCAA Fayetteville Regional. One observer notes that there could be as many as 20-25 “legitimate” contenders for a 2018 trek to Omaha, Neb., and T.D. Ameritrade Park. The current NCBWA Top 30 poll lists the top five in the rankings and most likely to make the historic run to Omaha as Oregon State (44-10-1), Ole Miss (46-15), Stanford (44-10), defending champ Florida (42-17), and Clemson (45-14).
– Some of the fan favorites if they can make it to Omaha 2018 are 2016 champion Coastal Carolina (the first Big South Conference squad to win a NCAA DI team championship and a surpise NCAA Supe Regional victor over LSU), Southern Miss, Georgia, Northeastern, Tennessee Tech, Duke, Vanderbilt, Dallas Baptist, Missouri State, Oral Roberts, Texas Tech, Houston, Wright State, Columbia, and Army West Point, among others. LIU Brooklyn is making its first NCAA baseball appearance after a 46-year drought dating to 1972.
– An upset in the NCAA Division III baseball championship could bode well for Lone Star State and Southwest area teams. UT Tyler edged Texas Lutheran 9-6 for the first NCAA team championship in UTT annals. Also, longtime Southwest Conference and formerly Big 12 Conference rivals Texas and Texas A&M could meet in the second round of the Austin Regional with a pair of wins Friday. UT is ranked No. 18 nationally in the NCBWA survey while Texas A&M is No. 25. Those two schools combined for a stellar 71 SWC won or shared championships from 1915-96 in their storied traditions, and UT leads the complete, 273-game series with the Aggies 243-125-5.
Here are the NCAA Regional teams with opening day (Friday) seedings and matchups:
– Gainesville Regional
– 1. Florida- 4. Columbia
– 2. Jacksonville-3. Florida Atlantic
– Raleigh Regional
– 1. NC State-4. Army West Point
– 2. Auburn-3. Northeastern
– Lubbock Regional
– 1. Texas Tech- 4. New Mexico State
– 2. Louisville-3. Kent State
– Athens Regional
– 1. Georgia- 4. Campbell
– 2. Duke-3. Troy
– Fayetteville Regional
– 1. Arkansas-4. Oral Roberts
– 2. Southern Miss-3. Dallas Baptist
– Greenville Regional
– 1. East Carolina-4. UNC Wilmington
– 2. South Carolina-3. Ohio State
– Austin Regional
– 1. Texas-Texas Southern
– 2. Indiana-3. Texas A&M
– Oxford Regional
– 1. Ole Miss-Saint Louis
– 2. Tennessee Tech-3. Missouri State
– Stanford Regional
– 1. Stanford-Wright State
– 2. Baylor-3. Cal State Fullerton
– Conway Regional
– 1. Coastal Carolina-LIU Brooklyn
– 2. Connecticut-3. Washington
– Clemson Regional
– 1. Clemson-4. Morehead State
– 2. Vanderbilt-3. St. John’
– Tallahassee Regional
– 1. Florida State-4. Samford
– 2. Mississippi State-3. Oklahoma
– Chapel Hill Regional
– 1. North Carolina-4. North Carolina A&T
– 2. Purdue-3. Houston
– DeLand Regional
– 1. Stetson-4. Hartford
– 2. USF-3. Oklahoma State
– Minneapolis Regional
– 1. Minnesota-4. Canisius
– 2. UCLA-3. Gonzaga
– Corvallis Regional
– 1. Oregon State-4. Northwestern State
– 2. LSU-3. San Diego State
– NCAA Tournament Schedule
– Regionals: June 1-3/4
– Super Regionals: June 8-11
– College World Series: June 16-26/27 – TD Ameritrade Park, Omaha, Neb.
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