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Long Beach Lands Regional

Cal State Fullerton will also be a host school for NCAA baseball playoffs this weekend.

May 26, 2003|Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writer

One year after meeting in the same regional for the NCAA baseball playoffs, Big West Conference rivals Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton were each granted one of 16 host sites that were announced Sunday by the Division I baseball committee at Indianapolis.

It is the first time the 49ers, who have had one of the nation's most consistent programs the last 15 years, will host a regional. Long Beach (38-18) could also receive one of the eight national seedings when the 64-team field is announced today. The three-day regionals are scheduled to begin Friday.

Last season, Long Beach eliminated Fullerton before losing to Stanford.

"It is a great day," Long Beach Coach Mike Weathers said. "I thought we were very deserving and I was very happy to see Fullerton get a regional as well. With our strength of schedule, our record and our RPI, I just thought we did what we were supposed to do [to get to host]."

Fullerton (43-13), currently ranked third by Baseball America, also figures to be in line for a national seeding.

The NCAA awarded four sites to the West for the first time since the regional format was expanded to 16 teams in 1999. Stanford and Arizona State. are also host schools.

Committee chair Charlie Carr said there was some concern in awarding two sites so close in proximity but that the success of both Southland teams was too much to ignore.

"We did talk about it," Carr said. "But these are both, very, very deserving teams and that overrides any geographical concerns."

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Regional Sites

The 16 regional sites for the NCAA Division I baseball playoffs, with host schools in parentheses:

* Atlanta (Georgia Tech)

* Auburn, Ala. (Auburn)

* Austin, Texas (Texas)

* Baton Rouge, La. (Louisiana State)

* Cal State Fullerton

* College Station, Texas (Texas A&M)

* Coral Gables, Fla. (Miami)

* Hattiesburg, Miss. (Southern Mississippi)

* Houston (Rice)

* Lincoln, Neb. (Nebraska)

* Long Beach State

* Palo Alto (Stanford)

* Starkville, Miss. (Mississippi State)

* Tallahassee, Fla. (Florida State)

* Tempe, Ariz. (Arizona State)

* Wilson, N.C. (North Carolina State)

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