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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, May 31, 2010

Arizona State top seed in NCAA baseball tourney

 •  UH plays San Diego in NCAA baseball regional opener in Arizona

AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK Arizona State was selected today as the top seed for the 64-team NCAA Division I college baseball tournament.

The Sun Devils (47-8) won the Pac-10 title under interim coach Tim Esmay, who replaced Pat Murphy after he abruptly resigned in November after 15 years. They will host one of 16 four-team, double-elimination regionals that begin Friday. Arizona State opens against Horizon League champion Milwaukee (33-24).

It's the first time Arizona State has been the No. 1 overall seed, a spot that hasn't exactly panned out for teams recently. The only top national seed to win the College World Series since the field was expanded in 1999 to 64 teams was Miami in that same year.

The other national seeds, in order, are: Texas (46-11), Florida (42-15), Coastal Carolina (51-7), Virginia (47-11), UCLA (43-13), Louisville (48-12) and Georgia Tech (45-13).

The Atlantic Coast Conference, Pac-10 and Southeastern Conference each had eight teams selected by the NCAA baseball committee, all-time highs for both the ACC and Pac-10. The Big 12 was next with five teams in the tournament.

The 16 regional winners move on to the best-of-three super regionals, with those winners advancing to the College World Series, which begins June 19 in Omaha, Neb. It will be the last one played at Rosenblatt Stadium, the home of college baseball's premier event since 1950. The eight-team championship will move to a new ballpark in downtown Omaha next season.

Defending national champion LSU will play UC Irvine in the first round of the Los Angeles regional, hosted by UCLA.

Florida International's Garrett Wittels will carry a 54-game hitting streak into the Coral Gables, Fla., regional and an opening-round matchup against Texas A&M. Wittels is four games shy of matching Robin Ventura's Division I record of 58 consecutive games with at least one hit, set in 1987 for Oklahoma State.

Other players to watch include Mississippi left-hander Drew Pomeranz, Clemson outfielder Kyle Parker, Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal, Virginia lefty Danny Hultzen, Arkansas third baseman Zack Cox, Georgia Tech right-hander Deck McGuire and Texas righty Cole Green.

Mercer, which won the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament, is the lone team making its first appearance in the field of 64. New Mexico is in for the first time since 1962, while Oregon is playing in the tournament for the first time since 1964. The Ducks are in their second season since restarting their program under former Cal State Fullerton coach George Horton.

Miami extended its NCAA record by making its 38th consecutive appearance, while Florida State is in for the 33rd straight year. The Seminoles are the only No. 1 seed not hosting a regional. They'll travel to Norwich, Conn., where the University of Connecticut is the host team after the selection committee chose to place a regional in a nontraditional geographical area.

North Carolina, which has made four straight College World Series appearances, made the NCAA tournament as an at-large selection despite not making the ACC tournament.

Two teams with losing records earned automatic berths by winning their conference titles: Patriot League champion Bucknell (25-33) and Southwestern Conference winner Grambling (22-30).