ORONO – The University of Maine will travel to Oxford, Mississippi for the NCAA college baseball tournament.

Maine (34-17), the fourth seed in the region, will face host Mississippi (44-18), the top seed in the region, at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 3. It is the first game between the two schools.

The Black Bears got into the tournament by beating Vermont 6-5 in a game that was decided in the 11th inning Saturday. It is their 14th NCAA tournament appearance and their first since 2002.

The rest of the region consists of Oklahoma and Southern Mississippi.

Tulane was selected as the top seed for the 64-team Division I tournament Monday.

The Green Wave (50-9), led by two-way stars Brian Bogusevic and Micah Owings, were ranked near the top of the major polls all season. Tulane, which opens against Southern, will host one of 16 four-team, double-elimination regionals that begin Friday.

The other national seeds, in order, are: Georgia Tech (42-16), Nebraska (51-13), Baylor (39-21), Mississippi, defending champion Cal State Fullerton (41-15), Florida (40-20) and Oregon State (41-9). Those schools can only face each other if they advance to the College World Series.

“As long as you’re one of the top eight seeds, you have a tremendous advantage to move ahead,” NCAA Division I baseball committee chairman Charlie Carr said.

Other teams that received No. 1 seeds in their regionals are: Clemson (39-21), Coastal Carolina (48-14), Florida State (50-18), Long Beach State (36-20), LSU (38-20), Miami (38-17-1), Tennessee (41-19) and Texas (45-15).

Each is hosting a regional, except for Coastal Carolina; Arizona State is hosting that one.

The Southeastern Conference received nine berths from the committee, tying the record it set last year. Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Louisiana State, Mississippi, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Tennessee are all in the tournament.

“We try very hard to look at it strictly as each team, not by conference or section of the country,” said Carr, also the senior associate athletic director at Florida State. “We look at criteria and if a team measures up, they’ll get in. We have an equal number of teams across the country that were competitive and deserved to be in.”

The Atlantic Coast Conference was second with seven berths: Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Virginia.

Each of the four-team, double-elimination regionals will be played on campus sites from June 3-6.

“We try to keep teams as close to home as possible,” Carr said. “By the same token, we want to create a competitive balance.”

The Hurricanes are making their 33rd straight appearance to extend their NCAA record. Florida State is in the tournament for the 28th consecutive year – second to Miami’s streak.

Three teams are making their first tournament appearances: North Carolina A&T (27-25), Quinnipiac (26-22) and Rhode Island (34-19). Each of them won their conference tournaments to make the field of 64.

Oregon State is in the field for the first time since 1986, while Furman won the Southern Conference to earn its first berth since 1991.

Carr said the selection committee uses a number of factors in deciding which at-large teams make it into the tournament field, including overall record, RPI, non-conference schedule, strength of schedule, how a team has played in its last 10 or 15 games, and performance in conference tournaments and against Top 25 teams.

“There were a ton of bubble teams this year,” Carr said. “Sometimes you have two or three. This year you had about 25 or 30. It was hard to disseminate differences between any of them.”

Among teams left out of the tournament were California (34-23), Cal Poly (36-20), Central Florida (42-18), North Carolina-Wilmington (40-19) and Oklahoma State (34-25).

“This was the most difficult group to try to separate,” Carr said. “You don’t feel good about any you don’t allow in. I could argue a case for each one of them.”

The winners of each regional will advance to the super regionals, played June 10-13.

The eight winners of the super regionals will play in the College World Series, which starts June 17 in Omaha, Neb.

Cal State Fullerton is trying to join Texas (1949-50), Southern California (1970-74), Stanford (1987-88) and Louisiana State (1996-97) as repeat national champions. The Titans open against Harvard, with Missouri and Arizona the other teams playing in that regional.

AP-ES-05-30-05 1556EDT


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