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Eric Olson | The Associated Press | June 1, 2017

Things to know about the DI baseball tournament regionals

  LSU enters the tournament with the second-longest current winning streak at 11 games.

OMAHA, Neb. — The NCAA Division I baseball tournament opens Thursday with one regional beginning play. The tournament starts in earnest Friday. The 16 regional winners advance to super regionals next week, and the final eight go to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska beginning June 17.

Here are some of the top story lines heading into regional play:


No. 1 national seed Oregon State (49-4) has won 16 straight games, including Pac-12 sweeps over California, Oregon and Washington State. No. 4 LSU (43-17) has won 11 in a row and outscored Missouri, Kentucky, South Carolina and Arkansas 35-5 while winning the SEC tournament. No. 8 Stanford (40-14) went into its game against Sacramento State on Thursday night with wins in 21 of 23.

RELATED: Players to watch from all 16 regionals, Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV


Clemson (39-19) was awarded a home regional despite having lost to Duke and Virginia in the ACC tournament, seven of its last nine and 11 of 16. Auburn (35-24) started May by getting swept at home by Alabama, the worst team in the SEC, and finished the month 3-10. Texas A&M (36-21) has dropped eight of 10.


  Brendan McKay will be a prized possession in the draft with his standout season at pitcher and first base.
The tournament is loaded with prospective first-round draft picks as rated by Baseball America: Louisville pitcher/first baseman Brendan McKay; pitchers Kyle Wright of Vanderbilt, J.B. Bukauskas of North Carolina, Alex Faedo of Florida, Griffin Canning of UCLA, Luke Heimlich of Oregon State and Alex Lange of LSU; first baseman Pavin Smith and outfielder Adam Haseley, both of Virginia; outfielder Jeren Kendall of Vanderbilt; first baseman Evan White of Kentucky; third baseman Jake Burger of Missouri State; and shortstop Logan Warmoth and outfielder Brian Miller, both of North Carolina.


SEC player of the year Brent Rooker of Mississippi State brings in a .404 batting average, highest in the tournament, to go with 21 home runs, a school-record 29 doubles and 76 RBIs. Big Ten player of the year Jake Adams of Iowa is the national co-leader in home runs with 27; no player has hit more since Kris Bryant had 31 for San Diego in 2013. UNC-Greensboro's Caleb Webster is batting .397, the best average by a freshman by 21 points. Wake Forest's Gavin Sheets has 79 RBIs, most among the tournament field, and 20 homers.


Oregon State owns a nation-leading ERA of 1.84, more than a half-run better than the next closest team. The Beavers are on track to become just the second team in 25 years to have a sub-2.00 ERA. The other was Arkansas (1.89) in 2013. The Beavers' Heimlich (0.81) and Jake Thompson (1.31) are first and third in ERA, and Thompson (12-0) is first in victories.

RELATED: The 2017 regional bracket by the numbers | Interactive bracket


Virginia's Ernie Clement and Smith are the two best batters in the country when it comes to avoiding the strikeout. Clement has struck out seven times in 244 at-bats and Smith nine times in 217. Clement's one strikeout per 34.9 at-bats is the best since Bobby Ison of Charleston Southern struck out once every 38.3 in 2014.


Coastal Carolina failed to make the tournament, meaning the championship will change hands for the sixth straight year. Fifteen of the 28 programs that have won national titles are in the field of 64.


The last No. 1 national seed to win the championship was Miami in 1999, the first year of the current tournament structure. The last five national champions were not among the eight seeds. The most recent No. 1 seed to reach the College World Series finals was Texas in 2009.


Three automatic qualifiers come in with losing records: Texas Southern (20-32) of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, Holy Cross (23-27) of the Patriot League and Radford (27-30) of the Big South.

RELATED: Tickets, schedule and more for the 2017 College World Series


Florida Gulf Coast (42-18) and Davidson (32-24) are in the tournament for the first time, and both are playing in the Chapel Hill Regional. FGSU's athletic program became a full Division I member in 2011 and emerged on the national scene with its "Dunk City" basketball team that reached the Sweet 16 in 2013. The school's highest-profile baseball player is Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale (2008-10). Davidson has been playing baseball for 115 years and has had four straight winning seasons among six since Dick Cooke took over as coach in 1991.

This article was written by Eric Olson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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