May 25, 2003
The NCAA has announced the 16 regional sites for the 2003 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship, with the 64-team field and pairings for the double-elimination event to be announced on Monday, May 26, at 12:30 EDT (11:30 in South Bend), during a live half-hour program on ESPN2.
Teams that were granted host sites included three each from the Atlantic Coast Conference (Florida State, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State), the Big 12 Conference (Nebraska, Texas and Texas A&M) and the Southeastern Conference (Auburn, LSU and Mississippi State).
Two schools each from the Big West Conference (Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State) and the Pacific-10 Conference (Arizona State and Stanford) also were named host sites, as were the University of Miami (independent), Rice (Western Athletic Conference) and Southern Mississippi (Conference USA).
All but two of the four-team Regionals will be played on campus sites, with NC State serving as the host team at Fleming Stadium in Wilson, N.C., while ASU will be the host team at Tempe’s Diablo Stadium.
It marks the first time since the field expanded to the 64-team, 16-regional format that action will not be held at a school that plays in a northern-base conference, such as Minnesota, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Rutgers (all of which served as Regional host sites at some point from 1999-2002).
Notre Dame (43-16)will be making its fifth straight trip to the NCAAs and the sixth of the nine-year Paul Mainieri era, after becoming the first team since 1986 to repeat as the BIG EAST Tournament champion. Mainieri’s ND teams previously have played two NCAA Regionals away from home – in 1996 at the University of Alabama (under the old six-team format) and in 2000 at Mississippi State – with the Irish also serving as an NCAA Regional host team at Eck Stadium in 1999, 2001 and ’02.
Check back to und.com for continuing coverage of the Notre Dame baseball team’s 2003 postseason.