Cougars bypassed as NCAA regional host

Charleston teammates celebrate with Carl Wise after he scored against Coastal Carolina during their game Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at Patriots Point. Paul Zoeller/Staff

The College of Charleston’s 43 victories, its Colonial Athletic Association regular-season title and it’s top-20 RPI ranking were not enough to earn an NCAA baseball regional host site.

The NCAA announced the 16 regional host sites Sunday night and the Cougars did not make the list.

The host sites for the regionals were LSU, Illinois, Texas A&M, Miami, Dallas Baptist, Texas Christian, Cal State Fullerton, Florida, Houston, Santa Barbara, UCLA, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Missouri State, Oklahoma State and Florida State.

The 64-team field will be announced Monday afternoon and televised live on ESPNU. The Cougars (43-13) are a lock to receive an at-large bid for the tournament and will most likely end up as a strong No. 2 seed at any regional they attend.

In the end, the Cougars’ two losses to UNC Wilmington in the CAA Tournament proved to be too much overcome to host an NCAA baseball regional for the first time in school history.

The Cougars finished the regular season with an RPI ranking of No. 18.

The Cougars won the Gainesville Regional last year and advanced to the super regional in Lubbock, Texas, against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders beat the Cougars in back-to-back 1-0 games.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed that we didn’t get to host a regional,” said College of Charleston coach Monte Lee. “We felt like we had a good enough resume to be one of the 16 host teams, but the committee felt differently. We would have loved to have hosted a regional and felt like we did enough during the regular season to put ourselves in that conversation.”

The Cougars have had no problem winning on the road, going 17-5 this season.

“We’ve been a good road team all year, and we’ll go wherever the committee sends us,” Lee said. “The goal remains the same and that’s to get to Omaha and play in the College World Series. We’re excited about the opportunity to be in a regional and hopefully get to a super regional. This isn’t going to change anything about our approach to the regional.”

Two of the surprise host sites were Santa Barbara and Cal State Fullerton. The RPI for the Gauchos (40-14-1) was No. 16, but the school submitted a bid using a minor league park as the host site instead of their campus facility. The Diamond, which is home to the San Diego Padres High Level A ball, is in nearby Lake Elsinore, Ca., and can seat more than 6,000 fans.

The Cougars submitted a bid using only their campus facility at Patriots Point, which would have needed temporary seating to have a capacity of more than 2,000. The Cougars decided to pass on Riley Park as a host site.

Cal State Fullerton (33-22-0) had an RPI ranking of No. 23.