Baseball to host Austin Regional, opens NCAA Tournament against Southern

31 May By
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The Longhorns will kick off the NCAA Tournament Friday against Southern at UFCU Disch-Falk Field (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas baseball team received the nation's No. 2 national seed, and will host the Austin Regional as part of the NCAA Tournament June 4-6.

The Longhorns (40-13) will open their NCAA tournament run Friday against Southern at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. The 1 p.m. game will be broadcast on Longhorn Network..

It is the highest Texas has been nationally seeded since 2010 and it marks the second time the Longhorns have hosted a regional in the last four years. In 2018, Texas hosted the Austin Regional en route to a College World Series appearance.

Joining Texas in the four-team regional field are No. 2 seed Arizona State, No. 3 seed Fairfield and No. 4 seed Southern.

Southern heads to Austin as the only team in the regional that won the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) tournament, as the Jaguars upset Jackson State, 7-6, to claim the SWAC's automatic bid. Southern is one of just three teams in the tournament with a losing overall record (20-28), though the Jaguars did go 13-11 in conference play.

Arizona State is a program with a long tradition of deep tournament runs, and reached the tournament for the second consecutive year, as the Sun Devils received an at-large bid. Arizona State posted a 32-20 overall record this season, and went 16-14 in the Pac-12. The Sun Devils notched notable wins in conference action over regional hosts Oregon, Stanford and Arizona, but lost all three of those series and were swept by UCLA, the No. 2 seed in the Lubbock Regional. In non-conference action, Arizona State faced Grand Canyon and Nevada, each of which is in the tournament field, splitting a two-game series against GCU and defeating Nevada, 13-4.

Fairfield's claim to fame in 2021 was that the Stags were the last remaining undefeated team in the nation, winning 27 straight games to start the year before a 6-1 loss to Siena. The Stags were upset in the MAAC tournament, losing 7-2 to Rider, which clinched the conference's automatic bid in the conference's championship series. Fairfield went 37-3 this season, playing a conference-only schedule. Despite that, Fairfield enters the tournament with the No. 2 RPI in the nation according to NCAA.com.

The winner of the Texas/Southern game faces Friday's Arizona State/Fairfield contest Saturday. The regional will be a double-elimination format with the last two teams standing playing in a 7 p.m. matchup Sunday night. If necessary, a second game between those two teams would be contested Monday at 3 p.m. The winner of the Austin Regional will face the winner of the Gainesville Regional in a Super Regional the following weekend.

Riley Zayas is a high school sophomore and freelance journalist from Round Rock, Texas. He began his journalism career as a Sports Illustrated Kids reporter and has since become a regular contributor to Horns Illustrated, covering Texas Longhorn sports. His work also includes Fellowship of Christian Athletes publications, College Baseball Nation and Sports Spectrum, a national christian sports website. He currently serves as the Managing Editor of True To The Cru, covering UMHB athletics. Twitter: @ZayasRiley