Founders Park in Columbia has been announced as one of the 20 predetermined preliminary-round sites for the upcoming NCAA baseball tournament, the D1 baseball committee announced on Friday afternoon. According to the release, due to the health and safety protocols surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, it was deemed necessary to conduct the NCAA championship competition at predetermined sites. Of the 20 selected sites, the committee will choose 16 to host regional-round games.
Gamecock head baseball coach Mark Kingston stated earlier this week that he felt his team’s record and status in the RPI was worthy of being a host site for the tournament.
“You just have to keep winning games. You have to win enough games for them to consider you, but the RPI has been the most important metric for a long, long time,” Kingston said.
USC’s RPI has fallen to 15th after a loss to Clemson on Tuesday, but Carolina’s strength of schedule was clearly a major factor in evaluating the Gamecocks. USC boasts the #3 overall S.O.S. (Arkansas & LSU are 1-2) in the country, which is helped by playing #3 Texas along with the top four teams in the SEC West.
“It’s hard to ignore a 12 RPI for a team that has played our schedule, which in my opinion, is the hardest schedule of any team all year,” Kingston said. “If you look at high end opponents and the volume of those high-end opponents, nobody has played a harder schedule than us and still has a pretty damn good record that we have right now. I’m a little biased obviously, but I think our kids have done a lot to put themselves in that consideration.”
Arizona, Arkansas, Charlotte, East Carolina, Florida, Gonzaga, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Southern Mississippi, Stanford, Tennessee, TCU, Texas Tech, Texas, and Vanderbilt are the other locations chosen as predetermined preliminary-round sites.
The final 16 predetermined host sites will be revealed on Sunday, May 30th. The bracket and pairings for the D1 baseball tournament will be released at noon on Monday, May 31st.