We've got more automatic qualifiers to announce:
• Surely ESPN is already setting up shop in Coral Gables. Florida International's Garrett Wittels extended his amazing hitting streak to 54 games with a fifth-inning single up the middle against Troy in the Sun Belt championship game, and the Golden Panthers slugged their way to a 14-10 win. FIU is almost certain to head to Coral Gables as a No. 3 seed for a regional hosted by Miami, and I would expect a compelling No. 2 seed (Louisiana State?). People are justifiably captivated by the Wittels story; that's made-for-TV. That matters to the committee when it fills out the field.
• Is St. John's coach Ed Blankmeyer the new Kevin Gunderson? Back in February, Blankmeyer pronounced, "We're back," and declared that he had a regionals team on his hands. The Johnnies backed him up today, beating Connecticut 3-0 in the Big East championship game. The game got interesting in the ninth, when UConn loaded the bases with one out against closer Daniel Burawa, but Pierre LePage grounded into a double play to end it. St. John's gets in at the expense of an at-large bubble team. Pittsburgh is almost certainly on the outside looking in, now.
• Wisconsin-Milwaukee upset top-seeded Wright State for the second day in a row to win the Horizon League. Milwaukee's 6-3 win propels it to regionals for the first time since 2002, and the fourth time in program history.
• Central Connecticut State slugged its way past Sacred Heart for the second straight day to win the Northeast Conference title. The Blue Devils' 9-3 win sends them to regionals for the first time since 2004—which was the last of three straight regionals appearances, the only three in school history until now.
The Citadel leads Western Carolina, 10-2, in the fifth. That's good news for bubble teams.
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