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Vandy, Arkansas, Ole Miss, S. Carolina to host regionals

By Dennis Waszak Jr.
Associated Press Writer

Top-ranked Vanderbilt was one of four Southeastern Conference schools selected Sunday as regional tournament hosts by the NCAA Division I baseball committee.

With star left-hander and possible No. 1 draft pick David Price and slugging third baseman Pedro Alvarez, the Commodores will host one of the 16 four-team regionals for the first time since the NCAA went to the current regional format in 1975.

“The kids have played extremely well all year and deserve something like this,” Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said. “It was a goal at the beginning of the season to play at home in trying to get to Omaha. We accomplished it, and now we have got to take advantage of it.”

Each of the 16 host schools are guaranteed berths in the 64-team tournament, which starts Friday. The rest of the field, including the top eight national seeds, will be announced Monday.

The selection committee pored through the 54 bids to host regionals since Friday afternoon to determine the sites.

“There were some really outstanding bids by some really deserving teams,” committee chairman Larry Templeton said.

“We probably spent more time discussing the host sites this year than we have in the past.”

In addition to Vanderbilt, other SEC schools selected to host are: Arkansas, Ole Miss and South Carolina. The Atlantic Coast Conference (Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia) and Big 12 (Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M) will have three each.

The other regional hosts are: Arizona State, Coastal Carolina, Long Beach State, Rice, San Diego and Wichita State.

“Interest in college baseball and interest in hosting has continued to grow, and that’s what we wanted,” said Templeton, also the athletic director at Mississippi State.

Each of the regionals will be held at campus stadiums except for at Coastal Carolina, which will be played at Coastal Federal Field in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and at the University of Texas, which will played at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas. San Diego’s regional will be held at San Diego State’s Tony Gwynn Stadium after the schools teamed up to make a bid to host.

Coastal Carolina, Missouri and San Diego join Vanderbilt as first-time hosts, while Florida State is hosting a regional for the 26th time. Texas is hosting for the 23rd year, and Arizona State will have a regional for the 17th time.

Templeton said the committee considers geographic location as the most important factor when determining the host sites, not the amount of the bids.

“I don’t think we even thought about whether financially one is better than the other bid,” Templeton said.

“Everybody who has a host bid met the minimum financial standards.”

Six sites — Arkansas, North Carolina, Mississippi, Rice, Texas and Virginia — also hosted last year.

The winners of each regional will advance to the super regionals, played June 8-11. The eight winners of the super regionals will play in the College World Series, which starts June 15 in Omaha, Neb.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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