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HomeSportsBaseballUC Irvine Baseball reaches first regional since 2021

UC Irvine Baseball reaches first regional since 2021

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The No. 14 UC Irvine Anteaters (43-12, 22-8) qualified for their first NCAA Baseball Regional since their 2021 appearance, where they fell to Stanford in the Regional Championship.

UC Irvine will make their way to Goss Stadium in Corvallis, Oreg. for a first-round regional game against the Nicholls State Colonels (38-20, 16-8), who were the Southland Conference Champions. The game will take place on Friday, May 31, at 1 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN+.

The No. 1 seeded University of Tennessee, Knoxville Volunteers (50-11, 22-8) earned the top seed in the entire tournament and will be hosting a regional this weekend.

The University of San Diego Toreros (RV in top 25) (40-13, 20-4), whom the Anteaters defeated twice in the regular season and were champions of the West Coast Conference, also qualified for the tournament.

No. 13 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (42-12, 26-4) was the only other Big West team to qualify for the tournament and is one of the 16 teams hosting a regional. UC Irvine took two of three conference games from the Gauchos this year in conference play at Anteater Ballpark. UCI’s sole loss in that series on April 6 was nationally televised.

The University of Connecticut Huskies (32-23, 17-4) were selected for the tournament and defeated the Anteaters on March 13 at Anteater Stadium.

The Fresno State Bulldogs (33-27, 16-14) were the first team to defeat UC Irvine in the regular season on March 8, doing so in the second half of a doubleheader in Fresno. Fresno State split the season series with UC Irvine, as the Anteaters defeated them 13-4 on March 7, but the Bulldogs won the Mountain West Conference tournament and hence qualified for the NCAA tournament.

The final team the Anteaters played in the regular season to qualify for the NCAA tournament was the Tulane Green Wave (35-24, 15-12), who will also be playing in Corvallis on Friday. The Anteaters swept the season series with the Green Wave in late February in New Orleans, LA.

UC Irvine’s initial regional game will be their first game outside of California since March 28-30, when the Anteaters swept the University of Hawai’i during conference play in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The No. 1 Volunteers have the best record in Division I, but the No. 14 Anteaters have the second-best record, followed by the No. 13 Gauchos, who have the third-best record.

The Southeastern Conference has the most teams in the tournament with 11, the Atlantic Coast has the second most with eight and the Big 12 has the third-most with six.

The top non-Power Five conference this season in terms of bids to the NCAA tournament is the Sun Belt Conference, with four bids.

Two other Power Five conferences, the Big Ten and Pac-12, were each awarded three bids to the tournament.

The American Athletic Conference, Big East Conference, Conference USA and Missouri Valley Conference each received two bids.

The first four teams that were left outside of the field of 64 were UC Berkeley, the College of Charleston, the University of Cincinnati and Texas Christian University.

The complete 2024 NCAA Division I college baseball bracket can be found here. 

Jack Fedor is a Sports Apprentice. He can be reached at jfedor@uci.edu.

Edited by James Huston, Jaheem Conley and Jacob Ramos.