Time for a fresh coat of white paint to change “43” to “44” on the University of Miami dugout — as in “NCAA RECORD 44 STRAIGHT TOURNAMENTS.”
Though it was no surprise, on Sunday night the NCAA announced Alex Rodriguez Park’s Mark Light Field in Coral Gables as one 16 national sites to host an NCAA baseball regional next weekend in the first round of the Division I Baseball Tournament.
The 44 consecutive years of postseason berths by Miami baseball represents the longest active NCAA postseason streak for any collegiate sport.
Now, the only surprises will be what national seed the third-ranked Hurricanes (45-11, 21-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) will be deemed, the other three teams coming to Coral Gables and who the Canes might meet at Mark Light for the super regional should they win their regional.
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The full field of 64 teams and the tournament’s national seeds will be announced live on ESPNU at noon Monday.
“It’s crazy,’’ UM coach Jim Morris said last Monday before leaving for the ACC Tournament, in which the Canes won their first two games but were eliminated by Florida State (37-20) in the third. “There are so many in a row I hardly think about it anymore. I just don’t want to be the coach when it ends.
“Whenever it does end, it may never be matched again.’’
One team the Hurricanes will not meet in the regional or super regional is No. 4 Florida (47-13), which will host the first round in Gainesville and as of Sunday had the No. 1 RPI in the nation. Miami had the nation’s No. 3 RPI. The Canes lost two of three to Florida this season and were eliminated by the Gators in last year’s College World Series.
The FAU Owls (38-17) of Boca Raton, ranked as high as 13th by Baseball America, will not host because their stadium isn’t big enough to accommodate a regional. The Owls, who went 1-2 in the Conference USA tournament as the No. 1 seed, are not expected to come to Coral Gables.
FAU will learn its destination Monday when the regional pairings are announced.
Last year, the Canes earned the No. 5 national seed of eight awarded, before going on to win the regional and super regional. They went 1-2 at the CWS in Omaha.
Miami won national titles in 1982, 1985, 1999 and 2001 — the latter two won by Morris, who has made it to Omaha in 12 of his 22 seasons in Coral Gables.
“Hosting is huge,’’ Morris said. “It’s something we work at all year and we talk about all year. It’s a nice feeling to put ourselves in this position because you earn that spot, and our guys certainly have done that this season.”
Outfielder Jacob Heyward said it was “great to be at home for the regional,’’ but added that he rarely thinks about the advantage of hosting.
“We just want to play,’’ Heyward said.
The College World Series begins June 18 and will end either June 28 or 29.