UNC, ECU picked as regional hosts for NCAA baseball tournament; NC State to go on the road

North Carolina and East Carolina will start the NCAA tournament at home.

After a disappointing finish in the ACC tournament, N.C. State will have to go on the road.

The NCAA announced the 16 regional host sites on Sunday night with both the Tar Heels, the ACC champions, and the Pirates getting one of the top seeds.

The entire 64-team field will be unveiled on Monday afternoon. The order of the seeds will also be announced.

But UNC and ECU both know going into Selection Monday that they will be at home for the double-elimination opening round.

UNC, after getting crushed in a pair of games by N.C. State last week, recovered to win the ACC tournament this week in Durham.

The Tar Heels (42-17) capped off an impressive week at the DBAP with a 10-2 win over Georgia Tech in the title game on Sunday.

The Yellow Jackets (41-17) and Louisville (43-15), the regular-season ACC champions, are the other ACC teams who were picked to host.

The SEC led all conferences with six regional hosts. N.C. State (42-17), which lost in the ACC tournament semifinals to Georgia Tech on Saturday, started the 2017 NCAA tournament at Kentucky and hosted Auburn last year.

The Wolfpack could be sent to one of the SEC sites for the opening weekend. It was a host site last year and in 2016. Georgia, LSU, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Mississippi State are the SEC sites.

N.C. State closed the regular season with a flourish, with series wins over Clemson and UNC, but went 1-2 in the ACC tournament with a win over Wake Forest and lopsided losses to Florida State and Georgia Tech.

The Tar Heels will host for the third straight year and 10th time in 14 years. They are trying to get back to Omaha for the College World Series for the second straight year. The Heels won their seventh ACC title on Sunday and recovered from consecutive 11-2 and 11-0 losses to N.C. State in the final week of the regular season.

Mike Fox’s team beat Virginia, Miami, Boston College and Georgia Tech in Durham this week without a loss.

ECU (43-15) blasted through the American Athletic Conference at a 20-4 clip to win the regular-season title but lost twice to Wichita State in the conference tournament. The Pirates rank No. 5 in the RPI and were a regional host last year.

They have a chance to be a top-8 national seed, which would put them in position to host the Super Regional round for the first time since 2001. ECU is looking for its first trip to the CWS and might have its best team under fifth-year coach Cliff Godwin.

The Wolfpack and Campbell (35-19), which won the Big South tournament, will learn where it will start the tournament on Monday. Duke (31-25) and Wake Forest (31-26) are both considered bubble teams.

The selection show will start at noon on ESPNU. The tournament will start on Friday and the CWS is scheduled to start June 15.

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Joe Giglio has worked at The N&O since 1995 and has regularly reported on the ACC since 2005. He grew up in Ringwood, N.J. and graduated from N.C. State.
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