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NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament Preview: Part Four

 Julian Guilarte  |    May 30th, 2024 2:00pm EDT

Texas A&M catcher Jackson Appel (20) is greeted at home plate by Texas A&M outfielder Hayden Schott (5) after hitting a home run. (Photo by David Buono/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

NCAA Division I Baseball 64-team Tournament Regions Released: What to Watch For 

The conference tournaments were finished by May 26, and the 32 automatic bids were decided. The NCAA Division I Baseball bracket was filled out with the other 32 teams on the selection show aired on ESPN 2 on May 27.

Four teams are in each region, and the format is double elimination from Friday, May 31, to Monday, June 3. The winner of each region will advance to the Super Regionals, a best two-out-of-three series with the higher-ranked team hosting. The winners of the Super Regional will go to Omaha, Nebraska, for the College World Series and be in the final eight.

The regional format began in 1954 and expanded to 64 teams in 1999. The College World Series was founded in 1947 in Omaha.

All game times will be posted in the Eastern Standard Time Zone.

Region Six

Clemson is the sixth overall seed and will host the Regional Tournament in Clemson at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in South Carolina. 

Teams:

No. 1 Clemson Tigers—Clemson went 1-1 in the ACC Tournament and was eliminated by Miami in an 8-7 loss. Clemson has won its conference tournament 11 times and has made it to the College World Series 12 times.

No.2 Vanderbilt Commodores—Vanderbilt lost to Tennessee 6-4 in the semi-finals of the SEC Tournament. Vanderbilt has won four conference championships and the College World Series.

No 3. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers—Coastal Carolina went 1-2 in the Sun Belt Tournament, with a 6-3 loss to Appalachian State eliminating them. Coastal Carolina has won its conference 16 times. They won the College World Series in 2016, their lone appearance in Omaha.

No.4 High Point Panthers—High Point beat USC Upstate 6-0 to win the Big South Conference Tournament Championship. This is their first Big South Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance.

Player to Watch: Vanderbilt right-handed pitcher Bryce Cunningham is the 33rd-ranked prospect on MLB Pipeline’s Top 150 Draft Rankings. His season numbers are 79.1 innings, 94 strikeouts, and an ERA 4.20.

Schedule: Friday, May 31.

All game times will be posted in the Eastern Standard Time Zone.

Vanderbilt (38-21) will play Coastal Carolina (34-23) at noon on ESPN2.

Clemson (41-14) will play High Point (34-25) at 7 p.m. on ACCN.

 

Region 11

Oklahoma State is the 11th overall seed and will host the Regional Tournament in Stillwater at O’Brate Stadium.

Teams:

No.1 Oklahoma State Cowboys—Oklahoma State beat Oklahoma in the Big 12 Tournament Championship. Oklahoma State has won its conference tournament 24 times, made the College World Series 20 times, won it all once, and finished as the runner-up five times.

No.2 Nebraska Cornhuskers—Nebraska beat Penn State 2-1 in the Big 10 Tournament Championship. Nebraska has won its conference tournament five times and played in the College World Series three times.

No.3 Florida Gators—Florida got eliminated by Vanderbilt in its first game of the SEC Tournament. Florida has won the SEC Tournament seven times and has reached Omaha 13 times. They won it all in 2017, beating LSU. Florida has three second-place finishes, including last year’s loss to LSU.

No.4 Niagara Purple Eagles—Niagara won the MAAC Conference Tournament Championship, beating Fairfield 10-6. This is the first time the team has won its conference tournament and made the NCAA Tournament.

Player to watch- Florida first baseman/ left-handed pitcher Jac Caglianone is a two-way star who will hear his name called early in the upcoming MLB Draft. He is the second-ranked draft prospect on MLB Pipeline’s Top 150 Prospects. Caglianone’s hitting stats this season are 29 home runs, 58 RBI, a .415 batting average, and an OPS of 1.369. His pitching stats are 62 innings, 68 strikeouts, and an ERA of 4.35. Caglianone tied a Division I Baseball record with a home run in nine straight games this season.

Schedule: Friday, May 31.

Nebraska (39-20) will play Florida (28-27) at 3 p.m. on ESPN+.

Oklahoma St. (40-17) will play Niagara (38-15) at 7 p.m. on ESPN+.

Super Regions- The Clemson and Stillwater Regionals winners will play in the Super Regionals.

 

Region 14

UC Santa Barbara is the 14th overall seed and will host the Regional in Santa Barbara at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

Teams:

No.1 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos—Santa Barbara was the top regular-season team in the Big West with a 26-4 conference record. The Big West doesn’t have a conference tournament, but the team made the College World Series once in 2016.

No. 2 San Diego Toreros—San Diego won the West Conference Tournament Championship 8-6 against Portland. They have won their conference tournament seven times and have never made it to Omaha.

No.3 Oregon Ducks—Oregon went 0-2 in the Pac-12 Conference Tournament, losing to Utah and USC. It was dropped from the D1 Baseball.com Top 25 Rankings after previously being at No. 23. Oregon has won the Pac-12 Tournament and made the College World Series once.

No.4 Fresno State Bulldogs—Fresno State won the Mountain West Conference Championship 16-11 against San Jose State. Fresno State has won its conference championship ten times and the College World Series in 2008 against Georgia. They have made it to Omaha four times.

Player to Watch- UC Santa Barbara right-handed pitcher Matt Ager is the 86th-ranked draft prospect on MLB Pipeline’s Top 150 Draft Prospects. Ager’s stats this season are 56.2 innings, 57 strikeouts, and an ERA of 4.13.

Schedule: Friday, May 31.

San Diego (40-13) will play Oregon (37-18) at 3 p.m. on  ESPNU.

UC Santa Barbara (42-12) will play Fresno St. (33-27) at 9 p.m. on ESPN+.

 

Region Three 

Texas A&M is the third overall seed and will host the Regional at Bryan-College Station in Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.

Teams:

No.1 Texas A&M Aggies- Texas A&M went 0-2 in the SEC Tournament with losses to Mississippi State and Tennessee. Texas A&M has won their conference tournament six times. They have made it to Omaha seven times, with the most recent trip in 2022.

No.2 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns—Louisiana went 0-2 in the Sun Belt Conference Championship, losing to Old Dominion and James Madison. Louisiana has won its conference tournament eight times and made the College World Series once.

No.3 Texas Longhorns—Texas went 0-2 in the Big 12 Tournament, losing to Texas Tech and Cincinnati. Texas dropped from the D1 Baseball.com Top 25 Rankings after previously being at No. 24. Texas has won its conference tournament 16 times and six College World Series. Their most recent title was in 2005 against Florida. Texas has the third most College World Series titles and the most appearances, with 38.

No.4 Grambling State Tigers—Grambling won the SWAC Conference Tournament Championship by beating Jackson State University 6-5. This was their second SWAC Conference Tournament Championship, and they have never made it to Omaha.

Player to Watch– The player to watch is Texas A&M switch-hitting outfielder Braden Montgomery, the fifth-ranked draft prospect on MLB Pipeline’s Top 150 Rankings. His stats on the season are 26 home runs, 80 RBI, and an OPS of 1.193 in 221 at-bats. His 80 RBI leads Texas A&M.

Schedule: Friday, May 31.

Texas A&M (44-13) will play Grambling (26-26) at 1 p.m. on ESPN+.

Louisiana (40-18) will play Texas (35-22) at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.

Super Regionals- The Santa Barbara and Bryant-College Station Regions winners will play in the Super Regionals on June 6 or June 7 in a best two out of three series.

College World Series: The winner of the Super Regionals will be one of the final eight teams at Omaha. The College World Series starts on June 14, and the finals begin on June 22.

Watch every game of the tournament on WatchESPN.

This is the final part of the four-part tournament preview.

Find part one here

Part two here

Part three here

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Julian Guilarte