NCAA Tournament Pairings Set

The NCAA Tournament pairings were announced this morning with Stanford garnering the #5 national seed. The Cardinal will host the Palo Alto Regional starting Friday afternoon with Long Beach State, St. John's, and UNLV coming to town. Meanwhile, Stanford's bracket has been paired with the regional from South Bend for the super regional round. Read on for brief notes on each of the three teams heading to Palo Alto along with other news and notes on Selection Day.

The Field of 64 for the NCAA Baseball Tournament was announced this morning with the Stanford Cardinal garnering the #5 national seed.  Stanford, fresh off a spectacular 44-12 regular season, will also host one of the 16 sub-regionals this weekend at Sunken Diamond and if they were to advance, would host a super regional the following weekend.

Stanford begins the postseason on Friday night at 6:00pm when they take on the 4th seeded UNLV Rebels.  The Rebels finished the season with a 37-22 record and a 20-10 mark in the Mountain West Conference (in a virtual three-way tie for first place).  UNLV won their conference tournament last week with a perfect 4-0 record defeating San Diego State in the championship game.

This is an excellent hitting club with a .338 team batting average.  They also average slightly over ten runs per ballgame.  However, UNLV does not pitch well at all with a lofty 6.07 ERA and no dominating hurlers.

St. John's will come to Sunken Diamond as the #3 seed.  The Red Storm garnered an at-large berth out of the Big East Conference.  They finished tied for second in the conference with a 17-9 record, three games behind first-place Notre Dame.  St. John's enters the weekend with a 36-21 overall record and are coming off a quick 1-2 effort in the Big East Tournament.

The big story of the Palo Alto Regional though is that Long Beach State is once again coming Stanford's way.  The 49ers garnered the #2 seed and will open at 2:00pm against the Red Storm on Friday afternoon.  LBSU wins with pitching, primarily starting pitching.  They boast the top player in college baseball in Jered Weaver who enters the postseason with a 14-1 record, and a 1.68 ERA.  He's walked only 18 and struck out 193 in 128 1/3 innings this year.  The likely #1 pick in next week's draft, Weaver could very well be held out of Long Beach's first round game for a potential matchup with Stanford in the all-important Saturday afternoon contest.  The Dirtbags though also have a very talented #2 starter in sophomore lefty Cesar Ramos.  Ramos is 10-4 with a 2.10 ERA. 

Long Beach has lost seven consecutive games entering postseason play as they were swept by Cal State Fullerton and Miami in the final two weeks of the regular season.  However, of those seven losses, four of them were by one run and another was on a walkoff grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.  The Dirtbags are 36-19 on the year and are ranked 18th in the country.  They don't hit the ball particularly well with a .300 team batting average and only 29 home runs.  And their bullpen has struggled mightily during their current losing streak.


As for Stanford, the question now focuses on who gets the starting call on Friday night.  Mark Romanczuk (11-2, 4.03) has been the #1 man all year for the Cardinal, but do you save him for Saturday for a possible duel with Jered Weaver?  Remember, Romanczuk beat Weaver and the Dirtbags 4-2 in Game Two of the super regionals last season.  If Romanczuk doesn't start, Jeff Gilmore (9-2, 4.56) would likely get the call on Friday night against the Rebels. 


Awaiting Stanford in the super regionals, if they were to advance, is likely the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.  Ranked #5 in the country and with a 49-10 overall record, the Irish won the Big East regular season and tournament.  They host a regional this week with #2 UC Irvine, #3 Arizona, and #4 Kent State coming to town. 

* As expected, five teams from the Pac-10 reached the NCAA Tournament.  Stanford garnered the #5 national seed.  Arizona State picked-up the #7 national seed, but has to travel to red-hot Cal State Fullerton for the regionals.  If they were to advance though, ASU would host a super regional.  Washington is a #2 seed in the Oxford Regional.  Arizona is the #3 seed in South Bend while UCLA is also a #3 seed, but in Oklahoma City.

* Stanford will enter the NCAA Tournament as the #1 ranked team in the country according to Baseball America.  Joining them in the top five is #2 Miami, #3 Texas, #4 Rice, and #5 Notre Dame.

* The national seeds, in order: #1 Texas, #2 South Carolina, #3 Miami, #4 Georgia Tech, #5 Stanford, #6 Rice, #7 Arizona State, #8 Arkansas.

* The SEC garnered a record nine bids into the NCAA Tournament.  However, only two received national seeds with LSU as a noticeable omission.  In fact, if both teams advance out of their regional, the Tigers will have to travel to Houston for a date with Rice in the supers.

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