SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The WAC Champion Sacramento State baseball team (39-22) will make its first Div. I NCAA Tournament appearance just 300 miles south of Sacramento, as the Hornets are the No. 4 seed in San Luis Obispo regional. The team and its fans gathered at the Field House American Sports Bar on Monday morning to watch the tournament selection show.
Sacramento State will play the host and top seed in the region Cal Poly (45-10) at 6 p.m. Friday. The other two teams in the region, Arizona State (33-22) and Pepperdine (39-16), will open the regional on Friday at 1 p.m. The winner of the double-elimination regional will advance to the super regional and face the winner of the Fort Worth regional. Each game of the San Luis Obispo Regional will be video streamed live on ESPN3, available on watchespn.com, and all Hornet games will be broadcast live on HornetSports.com/Radio.
The Hornets qualified for the NCAA Tournament after winning four straight games over the weekend at the WAC Tournament, defeating Utah Valley 10-3 in the championship game on Sunday to earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Sacramento State qualified for the national tournament for the first time in its Div. I history (since 1990) after playing four times in the Div. II NCAA Tournament, with the last appearance coming in 1989.
Coincidentally, the last NCAA Regional the Hornets played in during the 1989 season was also held in San Luis Obispo. The Hornets lost to San Francisco State and to Cal Poly in that tournament before the program moved to Div. I the following year
Cal Poly, which has been ranked as high as the No. 1 team in the country this season, is currently No. 4 in the nation in both the NCBWA poll and the USA Today Coaches' Poll. Surprisingly the Mustangs, who won the Big West regular season title, are not one of the top eight national seeds for the tournament but still earned the right to host the regional for the first time in their Div. I history.
Arizona State is one of five Pac-12 teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament and is ranked No. 21 in the Collegiate Baseball poll. Pepperdine, the champion of the West Coast Conference (WCC), is No. 29 in the NCBWA poll
Sacramento State is 12-32 all-time against Cal Poly, having last faced the Mustangs in 2009 in a three-game sweep by Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, and Sacramento State has dropped the last seven games overall in the all-time series. The Hornets are 2-1 all-time against Pepperdine, winning the only series between the teams back in 1998, and has never before faced Arizona State.