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Conference tourneys to set stage for NCAA baseball regionals

FILE - Storm clouds roll in during the ninth inning of a Southeastern Conference tournament NCAA college baseball game between Auburn and Mississippi, Friday, May 25, 2018, in Hoover, Ala. The 16 NCAA regional hosts will be announced on Sunday, May 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)

Three NCAA Tournament spots have been clinched, and conference tournaments this week will determine the other automatic bids.

The 16 NCAA regional hosts will be announced on Sunday and the rest of the 64-team field next Monday. There are 31 automatic qualifiers and 33 at-large selections. Already in are UC Santa Barbara (Big West), Columbia (Ivy League) and Coppin State (MEAC).

A look at the tournaments in the power conferences:

ACC

Site: Charlotte, North Carolina.

Days: Tuesday to Sunday.

2021 champion: Duke.

Top seed: Virginia Tech.

Short hops: The Hokies (40-11), picked sixth in the Coastal Division, are the top seed for the first time. … Ten ACC teams are in the top 30 of the RPI. … Florida State leads the nation with an average of 12 strikeouts per nine innings. … ACC player of the year Max Wagner of Clemson has hit 26 homers, tied with Georgia Tech’s Kevin Parada for second nationally. … Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech are among six teams averaging more than two homers per game.

BIG TEN

Site: Omaha, Nebraska.

Days: Wednesday to Sunday.

2019 champion: Ohio State (no tournament in 2020 and 2021).

Top seed: Maryland.

Short hops: The Terrapins (44-10) posted their best regular-season record in program history and won their first outright conference championship since 1965. … No. 2 seed Rutgers (41-14) set program record for regular-season wins and made the eight-team tournament for the first time since joining the conference for the 2015 season. … Iowa tied Rutgers for second place, matching the highest finish in coach Rick Heller’s nine years. … Terps starters Jason Savacool (8-2) and Ryan Ramsey (10-0) have combined for an 18-2 record, 2.83 ERA and 182 strikeouts.

BIG 12

Site: Arlington, Texas.

Days: Wednesday to Sunday.

2021 champion: TCU.

Top seed: TCU.

Short hops: The Horned Frogs (35-18) are the first team to win back-to-back regular-season titles since 2016-17. … Texas is third nationally in batting average (.322), second in slugging percentage (.572) and second in fielding (.986). … Longhorns’ Ivan Melendez has hit nation-high 28 homers. … Baylor is turning nation-high 1.17 double plays per game. … This is first season since 1999 that no team had an ERA under 4.00.

PAC-12

Site: Scottsdale, Arizona.

Days: Wednesday to Sunday.

Top seed: Stanford.

Short hops: This is the first Pac-12 Tournament. Regular-season champion earned NCAA automatic bid previously. … Stanford and Washington each enter tournament on 12-game win streaks. … Huskies, picked second to last in the preseason, rode their streak to the No. 7 seed in the eight-team tournament. … The Cardinal’s regular-season title is first since 2018, David Esquer’s first year as coach. … Oregon State’s .988 fielding percentage leads nation. … Beavers’ Cooper Hjerpe is averaging nation-high 14.46 strikeouts per nine innings. … Oregon LF Tanner Smith has started a school-record 156 straight games.

SEC

Site: Hoover, Alabama.

Days: Tuesday through Sunday.

2021 champion: Arkansas.

Top seed: Tennessee.

Short hops: Tennessee (49-7) set a program record for regular-season wins and is the third team in SEC history with 25 conference wins. … Vanderbilt is the No. 8 seed after getting swept at home by LSU and, at 14-16, posted its first losing conference record since 2009. … Arkansas didn’t win at least a share of the West Division title for the first time since 2017. … Tennessee’s 2.45 homers per game is on track to be highest since Missouri State’s 2.53 in 1999. … Auburn’s Sonny DiChiara leads SEC in slugging (.782) and on-base percentage (.561) and second in batting average (.382).

IN THE POLLS

Tennessee and Virginia Tech are the consensus top two teams in the major polls. D1Baseball.com and Collegiate Baseball newspaper rank Stanford No. 3. Baseball America has Texas A&M (35-17) third.

COACHING TURNOVER

Two Power Five head coaching jobs are open following Ohio State’s firing of 12th-year coach Greg Beals on Monday. The Buckeyes finished 21-30 and 11th in the Big Ten at 8-14.

Kansas’ Ritch Price announced his retirement after 20 years leading the Jayhawks, who were last in the Big 12 for a second straight year.

ROAD WARRIORS

Texas State (44-11) is on a 10-game win streak and, following a sweep at Georgia State, finished 15-0 in Sun Belt Conference road games. The Bobcats are the first Sun Belt team to accomplish the feat.

PIRATES HEATING UP

East Carolina (38-18) carries a nation-leading 14-game win streak into the postseason and will be looking to end a maddening streak of frustration in the NCAA Tournament.

The Pirates are projected to make the tournament regardless of what happens in the American Athletic Conference tournament. They have the distinction of making the most regional appearances (31) without advancing to a College World Series. They’ve reached six super regionals, three since 2016.