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NCAA Tournament: UConn Baseball Heads to Conway Regional with Chip on Shoulder

The Huskies were sent to South Carolina instead of hosting in Norwich.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

In the previous four years, five teams with an RPI ranking at or above No. 16 have been passed over as Regional hosts in the NCAA Tournament.

Houston, at No. 17 in the RPI, was selected over No. 16 Virginia in 2017 in no small part because the Cougars won the American Athletic Conference Tournament championship.

Coastal Carolina was No. 12 in the RPI on Selection Monday in 2016, but were not given a hosting spot due to a 7-8 record against the top-50.

Sometimes a team that happens to be below No. 16 has a resume better than a team above No. 16, but other times other factors are at play.

In 2015, No. 15 Radford and No. 16 College of Charleston were slotted behind No. 20 UC Santa Barbara and No. 25 Cal State Fullerton, who earned the final two hosting slots.

UC Santa Barbara was 6-2 against the top-50, better than Radford’s 4-6 mark, but Radford was the Big South tournament champion.

Cal State Fullerton won the Big West regular season title, earning the automatic bid as there is no tournament, but they were just 8-12 against the top-50 and College of Charleston was 8-4 against the top-50.

In 2015, the committee elected to broaden the horizons of the 16 host sites into California, but in 2018, they instead elected to not put a Regional in the Northeast for the first time since 2010, when UConn hosted as a No. 2 seed in its regional.

UConn Baseball Selected For 2018 NCAA Baseball Tournament

The UConn Baseball team wasn't selected to host a regional. Instead, they'll head to the Conway Regional as the No. 2 seed. Read more about that here -

Posted by The UConn Blog on Monday, May 28, 2018

The Huskies were No. 16 in the RPI when it came time to select the field of 64, but were passed over and they intend to use that fire to their advantage.

“We’re from Storrs, Connecticut, so we’re born with a chip on our shoulder, but it grew a little bit,” head coach Jim Penders said. “That’s ok. That’s how we do it here.”

“Let’s make someone else pay, let’s blow up another regional. That’s the plan.”

No. 14 Auburn and No. 15 Texas A&M, the former with a 19-19 record against the top-50 but were 7-13 on the road and the latter with a 16-18 mark against the SEC and were just 14-16 against the RPI top-50 were also sent on the road.

In their place were No. 17 Coastal Carolina, No. 19 NC State and No. 22 Texas.

UConn played Coastal Carolina on March 13 and took the win over the Chanticleers in a 12-10 slugfest.

“We feel like we could have got it over [them],” shortstop Anthony Prato said.

When Coastal Carolina was sent to the Raleigh Regional in 2016 instead of staying home, they beat NC State twice, swept LSU in its Super Regional on the road and won the national championship after dropping the first game of the championship series.

This is the second consecutive year that the committee has not gone the Huskies’ way after they were left out of the NCAA Tournament in 2017 despite a strong resume.