College baseball: North Carolina seeded No. 1 in NCAA tournament
Omaha, Neb. • North Carolina is the No. 1 seed in the NCAA baseball tournament.
The Division I selection committee on Monday rewarded the Tar Heels (52-8) for a strong body of work that included an exhausting run to the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship.
The 64-team tournament opens Friday with 16 four-team, double-elimination regionals. Best-of-three super regionals will be held next week, with those winners moving to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
The other national seeds, in order, are: Vanderbilt, Oregon State, LSU, Cal State Fullerton, Virginia, Florida State and Oregon.
The 1999 Miami Hurricanes are the only top-seeded team to go on to win the national title, and that was in the first year of the current tournament format.
The Southeastern Conference led all leagues with nine bids. The ACC has eight, and the Pac-12 and Sun Belt have four apiece.
Arizona (34-21) won't get a chance to defend its national title. The Wildcats were left out of the tournament for the first time in four years despite winning five of their last six to finish 15-15 in Pac-12 play.
Miami (36-23) is in the tournament field for the 41st straight year, extending its own record. Florida State (44-15) is making its 36th consecutive appearance.
First-time participants will be Bryant, Canisius, Central Arkansas, Savannah State and South Dakota State. Bryant (44-16-1), from Smithfield, R.I., made it in its first year of eligibility since moving from Division II.
Thirty-one of the 64 teams were in the field last year.
Colonial Athletic Association postseason champion Towson (29-28) is sure to be one of the tournament's top stories. The Towson baseball and men's soccer programs were destined to be cut because of athletic department financial problems and gender-equity imbalance. The baseball program was given a reprieve thanks to an injection of $300,000 a year for two years in state funding approved in April. Soccer was not saved.
San Diego and San Diego State qualified for the tournament in the same year for the first time. That extends a prolific season for slugger Kris Bryant, who has hit a nation-leading 31 homers for San Diego.
Bowling Green (24-29) is the only team in the field with a losing record. The Falcons won the Mid-America Conference tournament and are in the national tournament for the first time since 1999.