The Miami Hurricanes cheered heartily whenever they saw their baseball highlights flash across the television screen Monday in their locker room.
And though ESPNU unveiled the Canes’ four-team baseball regional bracket for the 64-team NCAA tournament last, the upbeat Canes embraced the moment.
For the seventh time in school history, Miami was named one of eight national seeds – this time No. 3 behind No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Louisville.
Joining the third-ranked Canes (45-11) this weekend in the Coral Gables Regional will be No. 2 regional seed FAU (38-17) of Boca Raton; No. 3 regional seed Long Beach State (36-20) of Long Beach, California; and No. 4 regional seed Stetson (29-29) of DeLand.
Never miss a local story.
Canes fans will be happy to learn that each of the previous six years Miami has been named a national seed – 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2015 – it has advanced to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
“We’re excited to compete, always,’’ UM outfielder Willie Abreu said. “I didn’t know what Omaha was before – I had just heard about it. Now that I know what we’ve got to do to get there, all we have to do is concentrate on one game.’’
That game for now: Stetson at 7 p.m. Friday at Alex Rodriguez Park’s Mark Light Field.
FAU and Long Beach State will open the regional at 1 p.m.
The Canes annually play FAU, regular-season champions of Conference USA, and split two games at Mark Light Field this season – a 4-3 loss April 20 and a 5-2 win May 5.
Miami defeated Stetson 4-2 at home on March 9 and is 113-43 all-time against the Hatters, who won the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament Sunday for the first time since 2006.
“We know FAU’s good,’’ UM coach Jim Morris said. “They’ve got a really good program, maybe the best team they’ve ever had. Stetson’s hot right now and Long Beach State is always good – they’re like us, in a hotbed of baseball.’’
The winner of the double-elimination Coral Gables Regional will face the winner of the Oxford, Mississippi Regional, hosted by Ole Miss (43-17) of the Southeastern Conference, in a super regional. Sixth-ranked Ole Miss (No. 5 RPI) also has No. 2 regional seed Tulane (39-19), No. 3 regional seed Boston College (31-20) and No. 4 regional seed Utah (25-27) in its bracket.
If UM wins its regional, the Oxford winner would travel to Coral Gables for the tournament’s next round the weekend of June 10.
Morris did not appear fazed that FAU, with the nation’s 27th RPI but ranked as high as 13th by Baseball America, is coming to UM’s regional. Some baseball analysts believed that the Owls would be sent out of state to be a No. 1 seed in another tournament so as to avoid two highly rated teams playing together in the first round.
“A lot of times they send teams that are closer by,’’ Morris said. “So the fact that they send them here didn’t surprise me. FAU probably thought they’d come here. I talked to Coach [John McCormack] yesterday – a couple times on the phone.
“They’ve got a good, solid club. They played us very, very well both games.’’
FAU “always” gives Miami “a fight,’’ said UM closer Bryan Garcia, who set the Hurricanes’ career saves record with his 40th on Thursday in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. “They definitely hit well, they have a good approach at the plate, their pitchers attack the zone. They’re not going to be afraid of any of our hitters.’’
Morris was asked how he keeps his players from looking too far ahead.
“Our guys have got to understand,’’ the coach said. “We just went to the ACC tournament and didn’t win it. With this tournament right here, if you don’t win it you’re done. So you better be ready for every single game and everybody you play.’’
Morris said he hadn’t decided on his pitching rotation. Traditionally, most coaches, including Morris, save their ace for the higher seeds.
“We’re still trying to see the matchups,’’ Morris said. “The coaches are in making calls right now trying to get scouting reports.’’
The Hurricanes have won four national titles, the last two in 2001 and 1999, when Morris was coach. Ron Fraser led Miami to the other titles in 1982 and 1985.
Monday’s 64-team field included four national seeds from the Southeastern Conference and three from the ACC.
Ten ACC teams, tied for the most ever from a single conference, made the tournament. Besides Miami, Louisville and Boston College, they include No. 7 national seed Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, NC State, Virginia and Wake Forest.
The SEC has seven teams in the tournament.
For ticket information, visit hurricanesports.com, or call 1-800-GO-CANES.