The NCAA baseball playoffs continue this weekend with Super Regionals being played at 8 sites across the country. The field of 64 has been paired to the Sweet Sixteen after the regionals last weekend. The eight winners advance to Omaha next week for the College Baseball World Series. Only 2 number 1 seeds failed to advance out of their regionals with Rice eliminating number 1 seed Oregon and Oklahoma ending Virginia Tech’s season. Seven of the eight National Seeds advanced and are hosting Super Regionals this weekend with the eighth seeded Oregon Ducks not advancing.
Tropical Storm Andrea is causing problems for the Chapel Hill, NC regional with Friday’s game being pushed to Saturday and in Raleigh, officials have pushed the start time of the Rice – North Carolina State to 7 pm.
Besides seeing some great baseball it is great to see the venues on display. There are many outstanding baseball stadiums across the country on college campuses. Out west, Cal State Fullerton will once again be hosting the Fullerton Super Regional with rival UCLA in a series that was sold out days in advance. UCLA took all of their allotted tickets and could probably have used more.
Cal State Fullerton a.k.a. Cal State Omaha at this time of the year is two wins from returning to Omaha in quest of National Title number 5. The expectations run high at the Orange Country, California school, a sign on the right field fence reads, “1,544 Miles to Omaha”, a reminder of where each season is supposed to lead for the Pride of Orange County. The Titans have a rich baseball tradition since moving up to Division I in 1975 under the leadership of Augie Guarrido who after leaving once for the University of Illinois returned and then got the call from the Texas Longhorns where he has been since 1997.
After Guarrido, other coaches have continued the magic that is Fullerton Titan baseball. George Horton guided the Titans to Omaha and left to start a new program at the University of Oregon. Dave Serrano guided Fullerton for four seasons before being lured to Knoxville to lead the Tennessee Volunteers. Former assistant coach Bill Kernen left when he got the opportunity to start the new baseball program at Cal State Bakersfield taking another Titan, Jody Robinson with him as an assistant.
But the grass is not always greener whether synthetic or a Bermuda hybrid. The baseball season is over at the University of Oregon, Texas, Tennessee and Cal State Bakersfield but the Fullerton Titans season continues under Rick Vanderhook. He returned to the Fullerton campus after Serrano left for UT. Vanderhook had been passed over when Serrano was hired and wound up at UCLA as an assistant coach. Now he faces UCLA in a best 2 of 3 series for the right to play in Omaha. In the two meetings between Fullerton and UCLA this season the Titans are 2 – 0 beating UCLA at home and on the road. But those were week day games and both schools will have their weekend pitchers ready for action.
If you are anywhere near one of the Super Regional sites and can score a ticket, do yourself a favor and take in some college baseball. Otherwise ESPN will be covering all of the games so check some out.