Former champ OSU returns to NCAA tourney
CORVALLIS — The Oregon State baseball team has been selected for the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in five years.
The Beavers are in the Fort Worth, Texas, regional and will face Texas A&M at noon Pacific time Friday. OSU is seeded third and the Aggies are the No. 2 seed.
Top-seeded Texas Christian is the regional host and opens against No. 4 seed Wright State.
The tournament field was announced Monday morning on ESPN's selection show.
"We are excited to earn a regional berth," OSU coach Pat Casey said in a statement. "We feel that this will be a competitive regional, one that is going to take the best from each team. We are going to get to work here in Corvallis and prepare for the trip. We are coming off a good weekend of play at Stanford and want to improve on it further."
The Texas Longhorns are the nation's top-seeded team. They are 41-13-1 and won the Big 12 tournament for the fourth time. They will host one of the 16 four-team, double-elimination regionals that begin Friday.
Oregon State earned an at-large berth after finishing the regular season with a 35-17 overall record and 15-12 mark in Pac-10 Conference play. The 15-12 record is the team's first winning league mark since 2006.
The Beavers went 4-1 to end the regular season and 10-5 in their last 15 games.
In the last five games, which included two wins over Oregon and a 7-6 loss to Stanford, OSU's pitchers limited opponents to a .188 batting average while posting a 2.45 ERA. Tyler Waldron went 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA over that stretch, while freshman Sam Gaviglio, from Ashland, posted a three-hit shutout of Stanford Friday.
Two other local players are on the Beavers' roster. They are senior outfielder Logan Boyd of South Medford and junior utility player Rob Folsom of North Medford.
The regional berth is Oregon State's 10th all-time dating to 1952 and its fourth in the last five years. In its three most recent NCAA appearances, 2005-07, the Beavers advanced to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., where they won consecutive national titles the last two trips.
The Beavers have an NCAA tournament record of 32-18 (.640) mark. They are 15-11 in NCAA regionals (.577), including 10-1 their last three trips.
TCU finished the regular season with a 36-16 overall record and 15-5 mark in Mountain West Conference. The Horned Frogs are an at-large team after losing to Utah in the MWC tournament.
Texas A&M is 36-22 and was 14-13 in Big 12 Conference play. The Aggies went 6-6 in their last 12 games and also received an at-large berth.
Wright State won the Horizon League. It's 33-28 overall and was 14-12 in league.
This is the second time Texas, coached by Division I career victories leader Augie Garrido, has been the No. 1 overall seed.
"We know all too well that being named No. 1 by someone doesn't get you anything," Garrido said. "You have to go play the games to earn the No. 1 that means something."
Texas, second to Southern California with six national titles, has perhaps the deepest pitching staff with Chance Ruffin, Cole Green, Brandon Workman and closer Austin Wood. The Longhorns were also No. 1 overall in 2004, but the only top national seed to win the College World Series since the field was expanded to 64 teams was Miami in 1999. No top-eight seed has won it all since Rice in 2003.
The other national seeds, in order, are: Cal State Fullerton (42-14), LSU (46-16), North Carolina (42-16), Arizona State (44-12), UC Irvine (43-13), Oklahoma (41-18) and Florida (39-20).
"This is the fun time of the year," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "The first 56 games were a grind, but then you get to this point and enjoy yourself. This is the fun part. You know going in that you're five consecutive wins away from going to Omaha. That's exciting."
The 16 regional winners move on to the best-of-three super regionals, beginning June 5. The eight super regional winners advance to the College World Series, which begins June 13 in Omaha, Neb.
Defending national champion Fresno State, the first team to win it all as a No. 4 seed in a bracket, will play UC Irvine in the first round of the Irvine, Calif., regional. UC Irvine is ranked No. 1 in most national polls, but is in arguably the tournament's most difficult bracket. It includes ACC champion Virginia and coach Tony Gwynn's San Diego State squad, with ace right-hander Stephen Strasburg, the likely No. 1 overall draft pick.
Gwynn said the Aztecs will likely follow their usual practice of leading off a series with Strasburg, who is 13-0 with a 1.24 ERA. He said there is no temptation to hold back Strasburg "because of the toughness of our bracket."
The Big 12 — Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas A&M — and Southeastern Conference — Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi, South Carolina and Vanderbilt — each received eight berths.
Miami extended its NCAA record with the team's 37th consecutive appearance.
Utah, which won the Mountain West Conference tournament, was the only team in the field with a losing record at 26-29.