The 16 regional sites have been announced, and it’s clear that RPI was a bigger factor in determining hosts than conference standings. The 16 hosts:
Arizona State, Arkansas, Coastal Carolina, Florida State, Long Beach State, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Rice, San Diego, South Carolina, Texas, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Wichita State.
The biggest surprise might be Long Beach State, which was the lone Big West team awarded a home regional despite being the third-place team in the conference. UC Riverside won the Big West title, and UC Irvine currently has the same conference record as LBSU but won the head-to-head series against the Dirtbags. Long Beach State did play a grueling nonconference schedule, leading to a top-10 RPI–much higher than UCI or UCR. But the Dirtbags lost series against their top conference competitors–Irvine, Riverside and a nonconference set against Cal State Fullerton.
Texas A&M will host a regional despite finishing in fifth place in the Big 12. Like with Long Beach, the Aggies’ top-10 RPI probably played a major role, and their run to the Big 12 championship game probably pushed them over the top. The Aggies beat out would-be hosts Louisiana-Lafayette (13th in the RPI) and Texas Christian (38th).
Four teams–Coastal Carolina, Vanderbilt, San Diego and Missouri–will host regionals for the first time. San Diego, Coastal Carolina and Texas all will be off-campus, with San Diego using rival San Diego State’s Tony Gwynn Stadium. Coastal Carolina’s regional will be played in Myrtle Beach, S.C., with Texas playing at Round Rock, Texas. The latter two are minor league ballparks.
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