Cal State Fullerton was the top-ranked team in college baseball’s preseason poll. After a tumultuous season, the Titans will get a chance to prove on the field they are the nation’s No. 1-ranked team.
Fullerton (32-22), which endured Coach Rick Vanderhook’s 16-game suspension, won its last seven games to get a spot in the NCAA tournament, which begins Friday with 16 double-elimination regionals.
The Titans will play Nebraska (40-19), coached by former Angel Darin Erstad, in Stillwater, Okla. Oklahoma State (45-16) and Binghamton (25-25) are also in that regional.
The Pac-12 Conference had five teams selected, with Oregon (42-18), Washington (39-15-1), Stanford (30-23) and Arizona State (33-22) joining Oregon State (42-12), the top-seeded team overall. UCLA, the defending national champion, did not make the tournament. The Bruins finished with a record of 25-30-1.
Vanderhook was suspended during the university’s investigation into whether he acted improperly in communicating with his team. He was reinstated before the Titans played Irvine in their next-to-last conference series. The Titans swept the three games, starting their winning streak.
For the first time since 2004, there are only two schools west of the Rocky Mountains that will play host to a regional — Oregon State and Cal Poly.
Oregon State plays North Dakota State (25-24) in Corvallis, Ore., on Friday. Irvine, one of the last four team’s selected, faces Nevada Las Vegas (35-23) in that regional’s other first-round game.
Cal Poly, which won the Big West Conference, plays Sacramento State (39-22) in San Luis Obispo. The other first-round game there is Pepperdine (39-16) against Arizona State.
Long Beach State (32-24) travels to Gainesville, Fla., to play North Carolina (34-25). Second-seeded Florida (40-21) plays College of Charleston (41-17) in the regional’s other opening game.
The super regionals begin June 6. The College World Series begins June 14 in Omaha.
You can see the entire bracket here.