Unheralded trio claim regional titles

OMAHA, Neb. -- College of Charleston, Kennesaw State and Pepperdine are heading to super regionals in the NCAA baseball tournament after surprising opening-weekend victories.

The College of Charleston Cougars became the fourth No. 4 regional seed to reach super regionals since the tournament went to its current format in 1999. Pepperdine and Kennesaw State were seeded third in their regions, as was Stanford, which upset host Indiana in Bloomington.

Of the eight national seeds, No. 1 Oregon State lost to UC Irvine late Monday, while No. 3 Virginia, No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette and No. 7 TCU won their regionals.

National seeds are assured of home field for super regionals. Maryland plays at Virginia, Mississippi at Louisiana-Lafayette and Pepperdine at TCU.

The other matchups, whose sites will be announced Tuesday, are: College of Charleston vs. Texas Tech; Kennesaw State vs. Louisville; Texas vs. Houston; Stanford vs. Vanderbilt; and Oklahoma State vs. UC Irvine.

Winners in the best-of-three series move on to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

The last two No. 4 regional seeds to get past the first weekend of the tournament made it all the way to the CWS. Fresno State went on to win the national championship in 2008, and Stony Brook captured the imagination of the nation in 2012 when the Seawolves reached the CWS.

College of Charleston has played in a super regional before, losing at Georgia Tech in 2006 as a No. 2 regional seed. The Cougars earned an NCAA tournament bid this year by winning the Colonial Athletic Association. They beat No. 2 national seed Florida on its home field Friday and defeated Long Beach State on Saturday and again Monday.

"They are a special team to coach and they have been having so much fun the last couple weeks," Cougars coach Monte Lee said. "I'm humbled to get to coach this incredible group and excited that we get to keep playing baseball."

Kennesaw State, in only its fifth season of Division I eligibility, became the first team since Kansas in 1993 to go beyond regionals in its tournament debut. The Owls of the Atlantic Sun Conference have won 26 of 28 games.

"Well, we won as a NAIA program in `94, and I told the guys today that was huge," 23rd-year Owls coach Mike Sansing said. "In '96 we won a Division II national championship, and that was huge. But I think this is going to put more of a stamp on Kennesaw State baseball. It's been a long process for sure, the reclassification, but it's great to be here today and where we are."

Pepperdine is in super regionals for the first time after beating Cal Poly on the Mustangs' home field. Pepperdine made it past regionals for the first time since its 1992 team won the national title.

Maryland and Texas Tech join Kennesaw State and Pepperdine as first-timers in super regionals.

The Maryland-Virginia series will be the first super regional matching ACC teams.