South Carolina starts the road to Omaha with a stay at home against Maryland, Old Dominion and Campbell this weekend at Carolina Stadium.
The Gamecocks will play Campbell, the Big South tournament champions, in the first round at 7 p.m. Friday. Maryland, the ACC tournament runner-up, faces ODU at 1 p.m. Friday. Both games are available on ESPN3.
The winner of the Columbia regional will meet the winner of the Charlottesville, Va., regional, where No. 3 national seed Virginia is the host team.
The Gamecocks (42-16), who will serve as a host for a regional for the fifth straight season, also are making their 15th consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament and 30th overall in the program’s history.
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The eight national seeds are Oregon State, Florida, Virginia, Indiana, Florida State, Louisiana-Lafayette, TCU and LSU. The other host teams besides South Carolina are Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Miami, Fla., Oklahoma State, Rice, Cal Poly and Louisville. The five SEC host teams are the most for any conference, while the ACC follows with three.
Hosting has proven to be a postseason advantage historically for the Gamecocks, who have held 15 regionals and six Super Regionals at either Sarge Frye Field or Carolina Stadium dating back to 1975. They are 58-8 all-time in NCAA tournament games at home and have won 27 straight dating back to the third game of the 2002 NCAA Super Regional against Miami, Fla.
In the four most recent seasons at Carolina Stadium, the home-field advantage is clear. USC has posted a 16-0 mark in the six-year-old ballpark – 12-0 in regional play and 4-0 in Super Regional play – and gone to the College World Series three times in that span, which included national championships in 2010 and 2011.
The 68th College World Series will begin June 14 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. The Gamecocks have reached 11 CWS in their history.