LAURINBURG — Seven teams from North Carolina will be participating in the 2018 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship with three of those teams hosting the opening round of the double-elimination weekend.
For the first time the NCAA seeded 16 teams — in the past there have only been eight seeds.
The selections were unveiled on Monday by the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee. The 64-team field consists of 31 teams that received an automatic qualification with the remaining best 33 teams selected on an at-large basis. Sixteen teams were seeded and each of the seeded teams were placed at one of the regional sites.
The regional sites were based on the nations top 16 seeds: Florida (42-17), Stanford (44-10), Oregon St. (44-10-1), Ole Miss (46-15), Arkansas (39-18), North Carolina (38-18), Florida St. (43-17), Georgia (37-19), Texas Tech (39-17), Clemson (45-14), Stetson (45-11), East Carolina (43-16), Texas (37-20), Minnesota (41-13), Coastal Carolina (42-17 and NC State (40-16).
The Tar Heels (38-18) are the highest seeded team within the state earning the No. 6 and will open the Chapel Hill Regional against North Carolina A&T (32-23) which claimed the MEAC’s automatic bid. Purdue and Houston are the other two teams in the competing in Chapel Hill.
The winner from the Chapel Hill Regional will take on the winner of the DeLand, Florida pod — No. 11 Stetson, South Florida, Oklahoma State and Hartford — next weekend in the super regional.
East Carolina and North Carolina State will also stay home this weekend. Campbell, Duke, North Carolina A&T and UNC-Wilmington will hit the road for the opening round that begins Friday.
The Pirates enter the tournament as the No. 12 national seed and will face UNCW (37-21) at 7 p.m. on Friday at Clark-LeClair Stadium in Greenville. South Carolina and Ohio State are also competing in the Greenville Regional. The winner of the Greenville Regional will face off with the winner of the Fayetteville Regional, which consists of No. 5 Arkansas, Southern Miss, Dallas Baptist and Oral Roberts.
The Wolfpack, which earned the No. 16 national seed, will welcome Auburn, Northeastern and Army to Doak Field on Friday. N.C. State will open up play at 7 p.m. against Northeastern.
The winner of the Raleigh pod will take on the winner of the Gainesville pod — No. 1 Florida, Jacksonville, Florida Atlantic and Columbia.
Duke and Campbell will hit the road for the first weekend of the tournament as part of the Athens Regional. The Blue Devils will face Troy at 2 p.m. Friday. The Camels will take on No. 8 Georgia at 7 p.m. in the late game. The winner of the Athens pod will play in the super regionals against the winner from the Lubbock, Texas pod — No. 9 Texas Tech, Louisville, Kent State and New Mexico State.
Winners advance to eight best-of-three super regionals. Those winners move on to the College World Series in Omaha.
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]