Underdogs turned the 2014 NCAA baseball tournament on its head during the double-elimination regionals.
The SEC entered 10 teams in the tournament of 64, but only two advanced to the round of 16. Among the 16 regional hosts, only five survived. Both of the top national seeds in Oregon State and Florida got knocked off, and all that wild action sets up an unusual road ahead to winning the College World Series.
|NCAA Baseball Super Regionals|
|Team 1||Team 2||Game 1 (all ET)||Game 2||Game 3 (if needed)|
|1. Oklahoma St||3. UC Irvine||Fri., 9:30 p.m.||Sat., 10 p.m.||Sun., 9 p.m.|
|2. Texas||2. Houston||Fri., 4 p.m.||Sat., 2 p.m.||Sun., 2 p.m.|
|1. Louisville||3. Kennesaw St||Fri., 6:30 p.m.||Sat., 7 p.m.||Sun., 6 p.m.|
|1. Vanderbilt||3. Stanford||Fri., 1 p.m.||Sat., 3 p.m.||Sun., 3 p.m.|
|2. Texas Tech||4. Col. of Charleston||Sat., 1 p.m.||Sun., 3 p.m.||Mon., 1 p.m.|
|1. TCU||3. Pepperdine||Sat., 4 p.m.||Sun., 6 p.m.||Mon., 7 p.m.|
|1. La.-Lafeyette||1. Ole Miss||Sat., 8 p.m.||Sun., 9 p.m.||Mon., 7 p.m.|
|1. Virgina||2. Maryland||Sat., 12 p.m.||Sun., 12 p.m.||Mon., 4 p.m.|
The eight matchups in the Super Regionals will be decided in a best-of-three format, and those eight winners advance to the College World Series, which begins with double-elimination bracket play before a best-of-three championship, via NCAA.com. ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU share the complete TV coverage.
If Maryland can defeat heavily favored Virginia, it would mark the CWS debut for the Terps. They have already made history by beating South Carolina twice in impressive fashion, snapping the Gamecocks' 28-game postseason win streak at home to reach their first-ever super regionals.
Maryland faces a tall task against ACC rival Virginia, which has reached the super regionals for the fifth time in six seasons, but the Terrapins could make a habit of upsetting the favorite after trouncing South Carolina so soundly.
As for the upstarts from Kennesaw State, they have already marked an exclamation point on their first NCAA tournament appearance by advancing to the super regionals. The Owls became the first team since Kansas in 1993 to advance in their tournament debut.
Though Kennesaw State has only been eligible in Division I for five years, Mike Sansing has been coaching baseball at the school for 23 seasons, so he has a keen sense of the program's history. He tried to impress on his young charges just how special this achievement is, telling Eric Olson of the Associated Press:
Well, we won as a NAIA program in '94, and I told the guys today that was huge. In '96 we won a Division II national championship, and that was huge. But I think this is going to put more of a stamp on Kennesaw State baseball. It's been a long process for sure, the reclassification, but it's great to be here today and where we are.
The Owls will try to fly past Louisville with a pair of wins to secure a stunning CWS berth.
Elsewhere, more history will come from the matchup between College of Charleston and Texas Tech, as the winner will reach the first CWS in school history.
Virginia, TCU and the Ragin' Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette stand as the remaining favorites, but nothing much has gone according to plan so far in the 2014 tournament.
The likeliest scenario has Virginia's strong pitching leading them to a win over Maryland, setting up a strong shot at the CWS title, but the next round is guaranteed to have new blood ready to shake up the tournament even more.