The 2011 NCAA Baseball Tournament begins play today and all three regional schools in the 64-team field will be in action. Seton Hall and St. John's will be representing the Big East Conference, and Manhattan College earned a spot in the tournament by winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) title. Beginning today, the field will be pared to the final eight, who will advance to the 2011 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.
The opening round of the tournament consists of 16 four-team regionals playing in a double-elimination format. The winner will advance to the second round, or Super Regionals, to be held at eight locations. Let's look at today's matchups for the three regional squads.
No. 3 Seton Hall (33-23) vs. No. 2 Arizona (36-19)
College Station Regional, College Station Texas
Game Time: Friday, June 3, 1:35 p.m.
Seton Hall earned its bid to the tournament by winning the 2011 Big East Conference Tournament championship, twice defeating top-seeded Connecticut and toppling second-seeded St. John's along the way. Seton Hall has won eight straight games.
This looks like a matchup between the Pirates pitching and the Wildcates offense. Seton Hall has a team batting average of .248 and an ERA of 2.61, while Arizona hits .322 but has a staff ERA of 3.73
In the other half of Seton Hall's region, top-seeded Texas A&M (42-18) faces fourth-seeded Wright State (36-17).
-- For more coverage, see SB Nation Seton Hall website, South Orange Juice
No. 3 St. John's (35-20) vs. No. 2 East Carolina (39-19)
Charlottesville Regional, Charlottesville, N.C.
Game Time: Friday, June 3, 6 p.m.
St. John's is making its third trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last four years, and East Carolina is in the field for the 11th time in the past 13 seasons.
In the other half of the Charlottesville Region, top-seed Virginia (49-9) faces fourth-seeded Navy (33-23-1). Virginia is the overall top seed in the tournament.
-- For more coverage, See SB Nation's St. John's website, Rumble In The Garden
No. 4 Manhattan (34-17) vs. No. 1 Florida (45-16)
Gainesville Regional, Gainesville, Fla.
Game Time: Friday, June 3, 4 p.m.
Manhattan earned its way into the tournament for the first time since 2006 by winning the MAAC regular-season title and then capturing the conference tournament with a victory over Siena College in the title game. For their reward, the Jaspers get to face Florida, the second overall seed in the 64-team tournament.
In the other half of the Gainesville Region, No.2 Miami, Fla. (36-21) faces No. 3 Jacksonville (36-22).
-- Team-by-team regional previews