By Arnie Leshin
Wake Forest has been declared the No. 1 team in the 64-school field that begins regional play Friday in the National College Baseball Division 1 Tournament.
The Deamon Deacons (47-10) will open at David F. Couch Ballpark in Winston Salem against George Mason (34-25) in Game 2 of the doubleheader that has Maryland (41-19) versus Northeastern (44-10) in the 11 a.m. opener.
Other hosts are Auburn (34-21), Louisiana State (41-15), Virginia (45-12), Clemson (43-17), South Carolina (29-19), Coastal Carolina (39-19), Miami (40-19), Arkansas (41-16), Florida (44-14), Kentucky (36-18), Vanderbilt (41-18), Stanford (38-16), Oklahoma State (41-18), Indiana State (42-15), and Alabama (40-19).
Auburn will open at its Plainesmore Park against Penn (32-14) in Game 2 at 5 p.m.. and the noon opener has Southern Mississippi (41-17) versus Samford (36-23).
LSU, at its Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, takes on Tulane (15-40) in the 1 p.m. first game followed by Oregon State (39-18) against Sam Houston (3 8-23 at 6 p.m.
At Davenport Field in Charlotteville, Va., Virginia takes on Army West Point (38-16) in the 10 a.m. opener, with East Carolina (46-17) then facing Oklahoma (31-26) at 5.
Clemson, home at Doug Kingsman Stadium, takes the field against Lipscomb (36-24) in Game 1 at 11 a.m., and game two has Tennessee (38-8) meeting up with Charlotte (34-26) at 4.
South Carolina hosts at Founders Park in Columbia, S.C. against Central Connecticut (36-12) in the 5 p.m. closer, with Game 1 sending Campbell (44-11) versus North Carolina State (35-19) at 11 a.m.
Then there’s Coastal Carolina at Spring Brooks Stadium in Conway, S.C., playing Rider (35-19) in Game 2 at 5 p.m., following the 11 a.m. opener matching Duke (35-21) with Wilmington (34-21).
Miami has home field at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field in Coral Gables and goes against Maine (32-19) in the 5 p.m. second game that will follow the noon first game that has Texas (38-20) facing Louisiana (40-22).
At Baumon Walker Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas opens against Santa Clara (35-18) in the 1 p.m. opener, and then its TCU (37-22) versus Arizona (33-24) at 7.
Florida has its home at Condon Family Ballpark in Gainesville when it meets up with Florida A & M (29-26) in Game 2 at 3:30after UConn (43-15) plays Texas Tech (39-26) in the 10 a.m. opener.
At Hawkins Field in Nashville, it’s Vanderbilt taking on Eastern Illinois (39-19) in Game 2 at 6 p.m., while Game 1 at 11 a.m.has Oregon (37-20) playing Xavier (37-23).
Kentucky goes against Ball State (36-11) at its Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington in the 10 a.m. opener, with the closer at 5 sending West Virginia (39-18) against Indiana (41-18).
Stanford is the host at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond in Palo Alto, Calif., and meets San Jose State (31-25) in Game 1 at 3 p.m., followed by the 8 o’clockpairing of Texas A & M (36-25) against Cal-State Fullertson (31-22).
Oklahoma State will be home at O’Broate Stadium in Stillwater in Game 2 versus Oral Roberts (46-11), while Dallas Baptist (45-14) takes on Washington (34-18) in the 11 a.m. Game
Clemson will be at its Doug Kingsman Stadium when it goes against Lipscomb (36-24) in Game 1 at 11 a.m. in the second game it’s Tennessee (33-8) versus Charlotte (34-26) at 4.
Indiana State will play host at Bob Warn Field in Terre Haute, and meet Wright State (39-21) in Game 1 at 11 a.m., with Game 2 at 5 sending Iowa (42-14) against North Carolina (35-22) at 5.
At Sewell-Thomas Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama will be hosting Nicholas (34-22) in the 5 p.m. second game after the opener pairs Boston College (35-18) with Troy (39-20) at 1 p.m.
Each bracket has upset makers, with Maryland, East Carolina, Tennessee, Duke, TCU, Oregon, Indiana, Iowa, and Dallas Baptist right up there.
Home field advantage is a plus, but it is a 64-school field with plenty of talent, and then there are others just happy to be included.
There you go, you’ve got the national DI baseball underway while the national DI softball tournament has its World Series beginning Thursday in Oklahoma City, with the soaring, record-breaking Sooners on top of the heap.