The Red Raiders are hosting for the sixth time overall and for a third-consecutive year after boasting an RPI of 10 to end the year. Not only did the Wolfpack draw arguably the best No. 2 seed, Auburn, but it goes on to win its regional and advance to the Super Regionals, it would be matched against the pod hosted by No. 1 ranked and defending national champion Florida.
The rough finish dropped OSU from potential host to one of the final teams in the field. You may be familiar with the Hatters from program alumni such as Corey Kluber and Jacob deGrom, or from DeLand native and longtime supporter Chipper Jones, but in a few weeks' time you may know them as the disrespected mid-majors taking shots at the bluebloods in Omaha.
For the first time, the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee listed national seeds 1-16.
Nick Mingione's squad was one of the "first four out", according to the committee, which cited the Wildcats' 13-17 record in SEC play this season as the determining factor. Auburn and No. 3 Northeastern round out the field. Only eight teams in the country have more Top 50 wins than the Cats this season.
For ECU, the regional is icing on the cake after a successful week in which it won the American Athletic Conference tournament title for the second time in four years under coach Cliff Godwin. This new format, in which the No. 1 seed's regional lines up with the No. 16 seed's and so on, disregards conference ties and appears to give the national seeds a draw closer to what they deserve. Samford and host Florida State are in the other bracket.
State will begin its postseason run on Friday at 7 p.m. against fourth-seeded Army. No. 2-seed Louisville will play No. 3-seed Kent State in the other matchup.
The NCAA announced Sunday that three of the 16 regionals that make up the opening weekend of its national championship tournament will be held at sites in the Old North State. No. 2 IN and No. 3 Texas A&M are IN the opposing bracket. And FSU will have to get past Oklahoma, with two outfielders eyeing first-round draft picks in Steele Walker and Kyler Murray, or Mississippi State, which just swept Florida two weekends ago.