College World Series: Home-field advantage proves huge for hosts in Super Regionals
It was home sweet home for most of the host teams in the 2017 Division I baseball Super Regionals.
The eight hosts went a combined 15-3 in their best-of-three series, with six teams clinching College World Series berths with 2-0 series victories. Host teams started with an 8-0 record to begin the round — a new Super Regionals record.
The only blemishes on the record came from Long Beach State and Florida. The Dirtbags, after winning the series opener, dropped consecutive games to Cal State Fullerton to become the only high-seed eliminated. The Gators then lost on a Wake Forest walk-off home run in the 11th inning of Game 2 on Monday but went on to win the decisive Game 3 later that evening.
Last year, host teams finished just 9-11 in the Super Regionals. Only three of the higher-ranked squads advanced to the CWS, while four of the five that were sent home were swept. Eventual national champion Coastal Carolina was one of the visitors to play the role of spoiler, winning both games against LSU in Baton Rouge.
This year's Super Regional hosts boasted an .833 winning percentage, good for an all-time record. From 1999-2016 — representing the modern tournament format — the combined mark stands at .609. The 2009 tournament was the previous best season for higher-ranked seeds in Supers (.778 winning percentage), while 1999 saw the most wins by hosts in the round (15), which this year's tournament tied.
While home-field advantage has certainly played a factor in the 2017 Super Regionals, whether by coincidence or not, all that can be thrown out the window at the next stage, where the final eight teams all step onto an even playing field at Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.