Gators one of record four SEC teams among eight national seeds

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Monday, May 30, 2016

OMAHA, Neb. -- Florida is the No. 1 seed in the NCAA baseball tournament, leading a record four Southeastern Conference teams among the eight national seeds.

The tournament's 64-team field was announced Monday. Regional play begins Friday.

Florida (47-13) was ranked No. 1 in the polls for most of the season and finished runner-up to Texas A&M in the SEC tournament. The Gators open against Bethune-Cookman in Gainesville.

The other SEC national seeds are No. 4 Texas A&M (41-16), No. 6 Mississippi State (41-16-1) and No. 8 LSU (42-18).

The Atlantic Coast Conference has three national seeds in No. 2 Louisville (47-12), No. 3 Miami (45-11) and No. 7 Clemson (42-18).

The Big 12 has the other national seed in Texas Tech (41-16).

The SEC also set a record Sunday when the NCAA selection committee picked seven teams to host regionals. Six ACC teams will host regionals, including defending national champion Virginia (37-20).

The 16 regionals are Friday through next Monday and include four teams playing a double-elimination format. Regional winners advance the next week to best-of-three super regionals, which will determine the eight teams moving on to the College World Series in Omaha beginning June 18.

The 64-team field is made up of 31 automatic qualifiers and 33 at-large selections.

Four teams are in the tournament for the first time: Fairfield (32-24), Alabama State (38-15), Utah Valley (37-21) and Saint Mary's (33-23).

Two teams with losing records made the tournament. Western Michigan (22-32) upset Kent State in the Mid-American Conference title game and is in for the first time in 27 years. Utah (25-27) won the Pac-12 regular-season title -- the league doesn't have a conference tournament -- with a 19-11 league mark. The Utes are in their fifth season in the Pac-12 and had finished last each of the previous four with a combined 25-94 record in conference games.

Selection committee chairman Joel Erdmann said the last three teams picked for at-large bids were Southeastern Louisiana (39-19), Nebraska (37-20) and South Alabama (40-20). The first three teams out, he said, were North Carolina (34-21), Oregon State (35-19) and West Virginia (36-22).