The Rice Owls will welcome Arkansas, Sam Houston State and Prairie View A&M to Reckling Park this weekend for regional action in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Baseball Championship.
The Owls (40-17) will open NCAA play against Prairie View (28-23) at 6:00 on Friday at Reckling Park. Arkansas (39-19) and Sam Houston (38-2-00 will meet in the opener at 1 pm on Friday. The two losers on Friday will meet in an elimination game on Saturday at 1, followed by a meeting of Friday's two winners at 6 p.m. The winner of the elimination game on Saturday will then meet the loser of Saturday's winner's bracket game at 1 p.m. on Sunday, with that winner advancing to meet the unbeaten team at 6 p.m. on Sunday. If needed, a seventh game would be played on Monday at 6 p.m.
The winner of this regional will face the winner of the Waco Regional in the Super Regional round next weekend. Official announcement of the eight Super Regional hosts will be made on www.NCAA.comcws, Monday, June 4 at approximately 11 p.m. (ET).
This will be the first postseason meeting between Rice and Prairie View since 2007 when the Owls won 5-0 to kickoff a run to the College World Series. The Owls split a pair of games with Sam Houston this year. First-year Bearkats head coach David Pierce will be in familiar surroundings for his NCAA head coaching debut, having been an assistant coach at Rice from 2003-2011. Rice head coach Wayne Graham has never faced Arkansas in his career at Rice, but the two schools were common opponents when both were members of the Southwest Conference.
The national top eight seeds are Florida (42-18), UCLA (42-14), Florida St. (43-15), Baylor (44-14), Oregon (42-17), North Carolina (44-14), LSU (43-16) and South Carolina (40-17).
The Southeastern Conference (SEC) led all conferences in the number of teams in the championship field with eight, while the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) has seven institutions. The Pacific-12 had five and the Big 12 and Conference USA each has four selected.
Making the tournament for the first time are Dayton of the Atlantic 10 Conference and Samford of the Southern Conference. Overall, 37 of the 64 teams were in the field last year.
Miami (Florida) is in the field for the 40th consecutive year, extending its own record. Florida State is making its 35th straight appearance, second all-time. Other long consecutive streaks: Cal State Fullerton (21), Rice (18) and Oral Roberts (15).
Each of the 16 regionals features four teams, playing a double-elimination format. The regionals are scheduled to be conducted from Friday, June 1, to Monday, June 4 (if necessary).
The 66th Men's College World Series begins play Friday, June 15, at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska