ECU Placed in Coral Gables Regional
There were already some cheers at East Carolina’s NCAA Tournament selection show party even before the names that made up the Coral Gables (Fla.) Regional illuminated on the large flat screens at the local Buffalo Wild Wings. The applause and hollering came from a handful of fans that were hoping for a warm, tourist destination to travel to this weekend. A few moments later, they got their wish. The cheers erupted into pandemonium when it was announced that the Pirates would face Columbia (N.Y.) in Florida to open its first regional appearance since 2012. “To know you’re getting your named called is an unbelievable feeling,” first-year ECU coach Cliff Godwin said. “That’s what East Carolina Pirate baseball is all about, being in the postseason and playing this time of year.” Columbia (31-15, 16-4 Ivy League) won the Ivy League and was 3-4 against NCAA Tournament opponents this season. The first pitch of Friday’s regional opener is set for 1 p.m. and the winner will be pitted against either Florida International or the regional hosts, Miami (Fla.) in the winner’s bracket on Saturday. Miami (44-14, 22-8 ACC) was named as one of the tournament’s eight national seeds during the selection show, while nearby FIU (29-29, 13-17 Conference USA) earned an automatic bid after winning the C-USA Tournament. ECU (40-20) is the No. 2 seed in the regional after winning the American Athletic Conference Tournament title over the weekend in its first year in the league. “The last couple days have kind of been like Cloud 9 for everybody,” junior slugger Luke Lowery said. “We’re excited to play in a regional this year and getting the No. 2 seed, that’s awesome for us. We’re really excited to get down to Coral Gables.” The champion of the Coral Gables Regional will face the winner of the Dallas Regional, which consists of hosting Dallas Baptist, Oregon State, Texas and VCU.
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