Chants travel to Blacksburg to take on Sooners, Hokies

The Coastal Carolina baseball team may have had its streak of conference tournament championships snapped at six, but not its string of consecutive NCAA Regional appearances.

The Chanticleers made the field of 64 for the seventh straight season on Sunday, when the NCAA Tournament selection committee unveiled the brackets live on ESPNU. They will face Oklahoma in the opener at Virginia Tech.

There were moans when the Chants failed to make the short return trip to Columbia, where state powers South Carolina and Clemson will battle in the same regional again. The No. 2-seeded Tigers drew Big South tournament champion Liberty, which knocked out Coastal on Friday, while the Gamecocks take on No. 4-seeded St. Louis.

But they were quickly followed by cheers as it was revealed that Coastal was headed to Blacksburg, VA, where top-seeded Virginia Tech will host No. 4 Connecticut and the No. 3 Chants will take on No. 2 Oklahoma.The Sooners (40-13) were expected to be in the mix to host a regional, especially after winning the Big 12 Tournament over Kansas. But the selection committee instead sent them far from home to face Coastal.

Big South regular season champion Campbell failed to make the field after falling to Liberty in the conference tourney title game. The Flames likely bumped Coastal from the Columbia regional instead of making the more geographically logical to Blacksburg.

The Coastal Carolina baseball team, ranked 29th by Collegiate Baseball, will play the Sooners at Virginia Tech’s English Field on Friday at 1pm on ESPN3.

For the second straight year, Coastal has been placed in a regional that ESPN has recognized in its one-hour selection show. Last year, Coastal – with South Carolina, Clemson and Manhattan – was in the “toughest regional,” This year, ESPN has declared Virginia Tech as one of the two Regionals with the “best storylines.”

Coastal has never faced Oklahoma in baseball but is familiar with both top-seed Virginia Tech and fourth-seed Connecticut. The Chants dropped a heart-breaking 4-3, 10-inning loss in Blacksburg last season and are 6-3 all-time versus the Hokies. CCU and UConn met twice in the 2011 NCAA Clemson Regional with CCU claiming game one, 13-1, and the Huskies coming

back later to eliminate the Chants in the losers bracket with a 12-6 victory en route to winning the Regional. Last year, Connecticut faced CCU during one of the Chants’ early season tournaments with Coastal winning 6-2 to own a 2-1 all-time advantage in the series.

Coastal is now one off 11 programs to reach an NCAA Regional each of the last seven years, dating back to 2007. The others to duplicate the feat are Florida State, Miami (Fla.), South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Rice and Cal State Fullerton.

Coastal faced 10 teams that reached the field of 64, playing top-seed North Carolina twice and regional hosts Kansas State and North Carolina State. The Chants were 8-10 versus the field with wins over regional host Kansas State, Florida Atlantic, UNC Wilmington, Liberty (3) and Georgia Tech (2).

The Chants lost versus North Carolina (2), lost 8-7 versus Elon, lost 8-3 to San Diego, lost 5-4 in 10 innings to North Carolina State, lost 13-7 at UNC Wilmington, lost once at Georgia Tech and dropped two games to Liberty in the Big South Tournament.

NCAA Blacksburg Regional Schedule

Friday, May 31
Game 1 – Coastal Carolina vs. Oklahoma – 1 PM (ESPN3)
Game 2 – Virginia Tech vs. Connecticut – 5:30 PM

Saturday, June 1
Game 3 – Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser – 1 PM
Game 4 – Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner – 5:30 PM

Sunday, June 2
Game 5 – Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Loser – 1 PM
Game 6 – Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner – 5:30 PM

Monday, June 3
Game 7 (if necessary) – Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner – 7 PM

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