It’s May and that means the College Baseball regular season is coming to a close. The Hoos are sitting 35-12, and 14-10 in the ACC as they return to action hosting the Clemson Tigers for a three-game set. Barring an epic collapse, Virginia will find itself in the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row, after staying home in 2018 and 2019 (the tournament was cancelled in 2020). But, with only two series left, the Hoos have their eyes set on loftier goals, the chance to host an NCAA Regional, something they haven’t done since 2016. Will they be able to do it? Let’s take a look.
Heading into the series with Clemson, the Hoos are ranked 15th in the RPI with a 9-7 Quad 1 record. There are 16 host spots available, so at first glance, that profile looks promising. I can confidently say that Virginia controls their own destiny. Take care of business (win two of three games) against Clemson this weekend and Louisville next weekend and I highly doubt they won’t be playing June baseball in Charlottesville. Clemson has an RPI of 25 while Louisville checks in at 12 so even dropping one of the series won’t spell disaster.
So where exactly do the Cavaliers stand in the host race? While the SEC is usually the king of college baseball, the ACC could produce the most regional hosts this season. There are six ACC teams with regional host profiles, Miami (RPI of 6), VaTech (7), Notre Dame (11), Louisville (12), Virginia (15), and Florida State (18). I doubt all six get host bids, so the ACC pecking order will be very important. The Hoos have already lost to Miami and VaTech, so Virginia would likely need a series win over Louisville to feel comfortable within conference. For more on Virginia’s ACC peers, check out our Clemson Preview and ACC Tournament Outlook.
Nationally, Virginia compares favorably among the teams with RPIs of 10-20 and if history is any indication, the committee rarely strays too far from RPI. Among top-25 teams in the RPI, Virginia has the 15th most Q1 wins, but has the 11th best winning percentage among those games. Assuming 12-13 host bids go to teams from the SEC, ACC, Big 12, and Pac 12 Virginia will want to make sure they’re winning a larger percent of those quality games than their competitors.
As we head into the final weekends, here are the teams outside of the ACC I’ll be keeping a close eye on as potential host competition.
Auburn - RPI 8, D1 Baseball Rank 20, 11-10 Q1
Georgia - RPI 9, D1 Baseball Rank NR, 15-13 Q1
Maryland - RPI 14, D1 Baseball Rank 18, 3-4 Q1
LSU - RPI 16, D1 Baseball Rank 17, 9-11 Q1
Texas - RPI 17, D1 Baseball Rank 22, 13-10 Q1
Arkansas - RPI 19, D1 Baseball Rank 4, 9-7 Q1
Stanford - RPI 20, D1 Baseball Rank 8, 5-7 Q1
Texas A&M - RPI 23, D1 Baseball Rank 10, 14-10 Q1
Should Virginia finish strong, a top-eight national seed isn’t out of the question. That would allow the Hoos to host a Super Regional if they win the Charlottesville Regional. As with hosting, a lot of that could rest on where Virginia finishes in the ACC. However, if the Hoos pick up both series wins against Clemson and Louisville, and win their pool in the ACC Tournament, a national seed would be in the cards.
The journey starts Friday when they host the Tigers. First pitch is at 6 PM with game two Saturday at 4 PM and game three Sunday at 3 PM.