After the terrific run to the West Coast Conference Championship, BYU baseball locked in a spot in the field of 64 teams in the NCAA tournament. On Monday morning, it was announced that the Cougars (37-19) will be in the Stanford Regional along with host Stanford (40-14), Sacramento State (32-27), and Cal State Fullerton (34-21).
BYU has been paired against Cal State Fullerton for their opening game of the Regional. The Cougars and the Titans will collide on Thursday, June 1. The game will be played at the iconic Klein Field at Sunken Diamond on the campus of Stanford University.
This marks the first time BYU has been included in the NCAA tournament since 2002. Just the 5th time in program history the Bat Cats will be allowed to play for the National Championship. In 2002, BYU advanced all the way to the Regional Final against USC before falling to the Trojans, 13-10. BYU also played in 2001, but didn’t advance out of the 1st round. BYU reached the College World Series in 1968 and 1971.
BYU did qualify for the College World Series in 1958 and 1961, but were forced to forfeit their opportunity to compete as no accommodation would be made to allow the Cougars to avoid Sunday play.
Since it has been 15 years, here’s a crash course on how the college baseball NCAA tournament works.
First, there will be 16 Regionals with 4 teams playing a double elimination tournament. The winner of each of the Regionals will advance.
The middle portion of the tournament is the Super Regional that will consist of 16 teams. Super Regionals are a head-to-head best of three game battle. The 8 Super Regional winners advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
At the College World Series, teams play another double elimination tournament, until 2 teams are left standing. The final 2 teams play a best of 3 series.
All of that is simply academic as BYU will need to have another historic week to advance out of their group at Regionals.