Florida's decisive Game 3 win over Florida State on Monday night—a 7-0 affair fueled by a fifth-inning grand slam off the bat of J.J. Schwarz—handed the Gators the last remaining spot in the College World Series field, ensuring the NCAA Tournament's No. 1 overall seed will be in Omaha.
It's one of the few things that went chalk in one of the wildest super regional rounds in tournament history.
Of the seven national seeds that entered the supers (Clemson was the only top-eight team to lose in the first round), only No. 1 Florida, No. 3 Miami and No. 5 Texas Tech remain. TCU is the only other survivor that hosted a regional, meaning half the Omaha field began this tournament as a regional two seed or below. Just four of the original top 16 seeds are left standing.
And how about the mighty SEC and ACC, which began the tourney with a combined seven of the eight national seeds and an incredible 13 of the 16 host sites. Florida and Miami are the only representatives of the two conferences heading to the CWS. The SEC, which set tournament records with four national seeds and seven hosts, had four teams crash on their home fields over the weekend: Texas A&M, Mississippi State, LSU and South Carolina. The ACC, which got a whopping 10 schools into the field of 64, watched No. 2 national seed and Vegas favorite Louisville fall in an epic stunner to UC Santa Barbara, while Boston College and FSU were knocked out by Miami and Florida, respectively.
Imagine if I'd told you before the tourney started that the Big 12, which got just three teams into the field of 64, would send more teams to Omaha than the SEC and ACC combined? TCU rallied past SEC champion Texas A&M to beat one of the hottest teams in the country in three games. Oklahoma State, which knocked off national seed Clemson in the first round, swept South Carolina to stay unbeaten in the tournament. Texas Tech fought off a Game 1 loss to upset-minded ECU to win the next two.
And how about the West Coast, which was dogged for its mediocrity all season? Arizona, which swept Mississippi State in Starkville, and UC Santa Barbara, which hit a walkoff grand slam to sweep mighty Louisville, give the region a pair of contenders in the CWS.
The field of eight
(5) Texas Tech
UC Santa Barbara
The Omaha bracket
Those eight teams will be divided into two groups of four, which will essentially replicate the first two rounds. The two groups will each play a double-elimination mini-tournament, with the winner of each advancing to a best of three playoff for the national championship.
Group play picks up this Saturday and runs as late as Saturday, June 25. The national championship game will pick up on Monday, June 27, with an if necessary Game 3 that Wednesday.
Here are the matchups for the first two days:
All times Eastern
Saturday, June 18
Game 1: UC Santa Barbara vs. Oklahoma State, 3 p.m. on ESPN2
Game 2: Arizona vs. Miami, 8 p.m. on ESPN2
Sunday, June 19
Game 3: TCU vs. Texas Tech, 3 p.m. on ESPNU
Game 4: Florida vs. Coastal Carolina, 8 p.m. on ESPN2