Category Archives: College World Series

2012 Regional Hosts Announced

INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA Division I Baseball Committee announced the 16 regional sites for the 66th annual NCAA Division I Baseball Championship.

The 16 regional sites, with host institutions and records (through May 26) are as follows:

Baton Rouge, La. — LSU (43-16)
Chapel Hill, N.C. — North Carolina (44-14)
Charlottesville, Va. — Virginia (38-17)
College Station, Texas — Texas A&M (42-16)
Columbia, S.C. — South Carolina (40-17)
Coral Gables, Fla. — *Miami (Fla.) (36-20)
Eugene, Ore. — *Oregon (42-16)
Gainesville, Fla. – Florida (42-18)
Gary, Ind. — Purdue (44-12)
Houston, Texas — Rice (40-17)
Los Angeles, Calif. — *UCLA (41-14)
Palo Alto, Calif. — *Stanford (37-16)
Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina State (39-17)
Tallahassee, Fla. — Florida State (43-15)
Tucson, Ariz. — *Arizona (37-17)
Waco, Texas — Baylor (44-14)
*Teams that are playing Sunday.

By virtue of being awarded a regional, all 16 host institutions have also been selected to the 64-team championship field.

Each regional field features four teams, playing in a double-elimination format. All 16 regionals are scheduled to be conducted from June 1 to June 4.

Three institutions are hosting for the 20th time or more as Florida State leads the list of schools with 29, Miami (Fla.) with 24, and LSU is hosting a regional for a 20th time. Stanford is hosting for the 15th time and South Carolina is hosting for the 14th time. Florida (11th) and Rice (10th) are the only other institutions to host 10 or more times since the NCAA went to the regional format in 1975.

Texas A&M is hosting for the ninth time, while North Carolina is hosting a regional for the seventh time and Virginia for the sixth time. Arizona is hosting for the fifth time, Baylor and UCLA are hosting for a fourth time, and North Carolina State for a third time. Rounding out the list and hosting for the first time are Purdue and Oregon.

Due to stadium construction issues, the regional hosted by Purdue will be played at U.S. Steel Yard in Gary, Ind.

Eight institutions (Florida, Florida State, North Carolina, Rice, Texas A&M, South Carolina, UCLA and Virginia) also hosted in 2011.

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Closing the Book on The ‘Blatt and the Chicken Curse

The University of South Carolina baseball team is the last team standing after the 2010 College World Series. What a proper way to say goodbye to the Diamond on the Hill. USC wins its first national championship at the last CWS played at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium. Carolina’s run was simply amazing.

The Gamecocks started the CWS in a storm. They went on to lose their opener in a rain and lightening delayed game that lasted over eight hours. They later stormed through the loser’s bracket to the title series.  Although the Gamecocks were decided underdogs, they went on to clinch the title by sweeping UCLA in two games.

Even though USC won the opening game of the championship series 7-1, the talking heads of college baseball still favored the Bruins to win the CWS. Game two is called an elimination game. The loser, by definition, goes home. This was more than an elimination game for UCLA. It was an elimination game for the stadium itself. A Carolina victory not only sent the Bruins home, it marked the end of the CWS for The Blatt.

The End of an Era

The 2010 College World Series not only crowned a new national champion, it was the final hurrah for college baseball’s most famous stage. Most fans are saddened by the loss of Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium as the host of the CWS. I agree with the sentiment.  The ‘Blatt is a fabulous stadium with the most heralded history in college baseball.

According to some critics, however, the old stadium was too small and the layout was neither fan, nor player friendly.  I also agree with that assessment. The parking was an event in and of itself. The concourse and the seats were too small. Oh, and the fence around the entire facility. I understand that it was put up for this last series, but it sure did make the entire experience difficult. Hopefully, the new facility has addressed those concerns.

The End of a Curse

I must admit, that at times, it has been difficult being a Gamecock fan. The slogan “wait ‘til next year” has definitely grown old. I’m not going into the close calls and hard times that the Carolina football and basketball teams have had in the past. There certainly have been some disappointments in those areas. The baseball teams have also had their fair share.

In 1975, 1977 and 2002 South Carolina was the runner-up for the national championship in college baseball. I also remember standing at The Sarge at a super regional in 2000. That year the Gamecocks were a consensus number one in the nation and highly favored to win the College World Series.  They were eliminated in Columbia. That was a tough break.

Some, if not most, Carolina fans attribute the “Chicken Curse” as the reason for those tough breaks.   Say goodbye to it. I saw some players scooping up dirt from the field. That will make a good souvenir and maybe help with the memories of a great championship. I’d like to think that they were burying an old ghost. This year’s team buried the chicken curse in the Diamond on the Hill. That is a fitting tribute to the fans of Carolina and of Johnny Rosenblatt.

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And Then There Were Two

South Carolina begins its quest for a baseball national championship tonight at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium. The USC plays UCLA in a best of three series.

Neither team has won it all before, although USC has been here three times previously. So, we will have a new national champion in the last series held at The ‘Blatt. That is a great way to say goodbye to the Ballpark on the Hill.

Most of the national media are giving the edge to the Bruins. That’s understandable because good pitching wins baseball games. UCLA has three of the best. But don’t write the Gamecocks out of it yet.

USC has shown they have heart. Coming out of the loser’s bracket to play for the championship is nothing to take lightly. They also have their own excellent pitching staff.

This is a photo of Blake Cooper that I took at an earlier game. He will get the start tonight. This will make his third start here in the College World Series. Some are questioning this call based on Cooper’s short rest since his last outing. I can only say that Head Coach Skipper Ray Tanner has made some good calls so far and the Carolina fans trust the Skipper.

The Bruins may be the favorite on paper, but fortunately, the games will be decided on the diamond.

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South Carolina over Clemson, Again

The University of South Carolina defeated Clemson University 4-3 to advance to the National Championship Series. This was the second victory in as many games for the Gamecocks over their in-state rival Tigers.

Prior to this two game series, Clemson was 2-0 in Omaha for the year. They only needed one win against the Gamecocks to play for the national championship.  Remarkably, this was the same scenario both teams faced here in 2002. USC won two then also.

I heard someone say after the game to party like it was 2002. For the Gamecock’s sake, I hope they don’t. They lost the championship game that year to Texas.

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