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On Campus: Tanner Now On Other Side Of Tourney Panel

In just a few weeks, the Division I Baseball Committee, the 10 men responsible for selecting the field in the NCAA Tournament, will convene in Indianapolis. There are a few new members of the committee this year, including one who is very familiar to college baseball fans. South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner, who led the Gamecocks to back-to-back national championships in 2010 and 2011, is in the first year of his four-year term on the committee. The two-time Coach of the Year said he is looking forward to being a part of the process this year. “I think we’ve got a great committee right now,” Tanner said. “We’ve been working on it and in just a few weeks we’ll be in Indianapolis. It’ll be interesting.” Tanner brings a unique voice to the committee, as he is the only member to have been a head college baseball coach. South Alabama athletic director Joel Erdmann, the committee chairman, and San Francisco athletic director Scott Sidwell were assistant coaches. But only Tanner has led a team through the tournament process. While this side of the tournament will be new to him, Tanner said he and longtime assistant coach Jim Toman, now the head coach at Liberty, used to put together their own mock field every year. “We would stay up late at night the night before the announcement and we would put it on the board,” Tanner said. “(Toman) was probably better than anybody. He would pick almost all of them. But we would spend time picking the field and now I’m part of picking the field. It’s exciting, it really is.” Now that he is a part of picking the official field, Tanner is already anticipating the difficult decisions about the final at-large selections. While he knows it won’t be an easy process, he is looking forward to the responsibility. “There’s a lot of great baseball being played throughout the country,” Tanner said. “I know it’ll be like it always is, there’ll be four or five teams at the end you can go one way or the other, but you can’t get everybody in. I’m honored to be a part of that committee and looking forward to my years of service there.”

New and Notes Atlantic Coast Conference: Clemson outfielder Seth Beer accepted an invitation to play for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team this summer. Beer enrolled a semester early at Clemson and has excelled in his freshman season, hitting .408/.540/.775 with 14 home runs. A former competitive swimmer, Beer said in a video on Clemson’s website that when he was younger, he dreamed of making the Olympic swimming team and is looking forward to the opportunity to representing his country. “Being able to come out here and say that I get to be part of Team USA’s baseball team is going to be something I’ll never forget,” he said. Six players have now committed to play for the team – Beer, Missouri righthander Tanner Houck, Oregon lefthander David Peterson, Texas Christian catcher Evan Skoug and Tennessee lefthander Zach Warren. Big 12 Conference: Texas coach Augie Garrido will receive on Saturday the Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations. The award honors influential Americans, often immigrants or their children, who whose work has enhanced and embraced the cultural diversity of the country. To attend the award ceremony in New York, Garrido will have to miss Saturday’s game at West Virginia. Pitching coach Skip Johnson will coach the Longhorns in Garrido’s absence. Garrido told the Austin American-Statesman this week that he felt it was necessary to attend the ceremony. “There’s no choice,” he said. “It goes beyond a choice…. Put yourself in my place and think about what you’re bringing to the university, the athletic department and the immigrants with similar backgrounds who haven’t been recognized, but might be as a result of this.” Big Ten Conference: Michigan State outfielder Dan Chmielewski had to wait more than a year and a half to get his chance, but when coach Jake Boss called his number last week against Michigan, he was ready. The redshirt freshman had just one career at bat before Friday, but got his first career hit that night and, after another hit the next day, earned his first career start Sunday. He went 1-for-4 with a run in the series finale, giving him a three-game hitting streak. Boss said Chmielewski gave the Spartans a spark, as they came back to win the rivalry series. “He had been practicing well,” Boss said. “He works hard, he’s grinder, a great kid, a 4.0 student.” … Ohio State will honor this weekend its 1966 national championship team, the last Big Ten team to win or finish as runners up in the College World Series. Ohio State beat Oklahoma State, 8-2, in the championship game that year, and righthander Steve Arlin was named Most Outstanding Player. Pac-12 Conference: Washington State second baseman Trek Stemp is tied for the Pac-12 lead with 11 stolen bases this season, and the Cougars rank second in the conference with 51 as a team. First-year coach Marty Lees said at a press conferences this week that as he builds the program, he wants to continue to add players who are threats on the base paths. “I feel like we’ve got a couple more kids (in our recruiting class) just like Trek, who have the ability to run and are very athletic and will add to the style of play we’d like to have here,” Lees said. … After splitting a pair of nonconference midweek games earlier this year, California and Stanford opened their Pac-12 series Thursday at Stanford. The Golden Bears won, 4-1. Cal is trying to win its first season series against Stanford since 2008, when the Golden Bears went 3-1-1 against the Cardinal. Stanford has won 24 of their 34 meetings since then. Southeastern Conference: A broken hand sidelined freshman infielder Julian Infante at the start of the season, but he has given Vanderbilt’s offense a lift since he was cleared to play in April. In 12 games, he is hitting .289/.372/.658 with three home runs, already tied for the third most on the team. Coach Tim Corbin said the key to Infante’s quick success has been his simple approach. “He doesn’t overthink,” Corbin said. “He has a very good plan, he trains well. He’s a guy, if he was a student taking a test, you’d know he was prepared to take the test just based on the time he’s invested.” … Texas A&M third baseman Boomer White leads the SEC in batting average and is hitting .433/.507/.567 overall. The transfer from TCU has been a critical piece to Texas A&M’s offense, and coach Rob Childress said he has enjoyed watching White this spring. “He has a great approach,” Childress said. “He’s just got a knack for finding the barrel. He has a great baseball mind and a great approach.” Other conferences:

Preseason Top 25 Capsules: No. 18 Vanderbilt

Team capsule for the No. 18 team in the nation.

Fresno State will honor former coach Bob Bennett on Saturday, as it renames its park after the winningest coach in program history. Fresno State’s facility will be known as Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium. Bennett was the Bulldogs coach for 34 seasons, amassing 1,302 wins and guiding his team to 17 conference championships and two College World Series appearances (1988 and 1991). Fresno State enters the weekend on a four-game winning streak and will take on defending Mountain West Conference champion San Diego State. The Bulldogs (30-16) are is in second place in the conference, a half game behind New Mexico. … Northern Illinois has the nation’s longest winning streak at seven games. It is the program’s longest winning streak since it won 10 straight games in 1977. Northern Illinois (19-25) will look to extend the streak and remain in first place in the Mid-American Conference West Division this weekend against Toledo.

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