Ducks are No. 5 national seed for Eugene Regional

EUGENE — The Oregon Ducks, a No. 5 national seed for the NCAA tournament, host Cal State Fullerton, Austin Peay and Indiana State at PK Park in the Eugene Regional starting Friday.

It is the first national seeding in program history.

The Ducks finished 42-17 this season and 19-11 in the Pac-12 Conference. They were third in the league after a season-ending three-game sweep by the Oregon State Beavers this past weekend.

Oregon opens the double-elimination tournament with Austin Peay (38-22), coming off its second straight Ohio Valley Conference tournament title.

The Governors are making their second straight and fifth overall appearance in the NCAA tournament. Eugene is the furthest west the team has ever traveled. They have never before faced Oregon in baseball.

The regional opener will be followed by Fullerton (35-19) against Indiana State (41-17).

The Sycamores, an at-large bid out of the Missouri Valley Conference, have not been to the tournament since 1995. It is their eighth all-time appearance in the postseason.

Fullerton, the Big West Conference champion, is making its 21st straight postseason appearance. The Titans have won four College World Series titles.

Their latest national championship in 2004 came under current Oregon coach George Horton, who spent 11 seasons as head coach at Cal State Fullerton before taking over the Ducks' restored program in 2008.

During his tenure with the Titans, Horton compiled an overall record of 490-212-1 (.698) and oversaw six appearances in the College World Series, including back-to-back berths in 2006 and 2007 as well as 2003 and 2004.

The winner in Eugene will face the winner of the Gary (Ind.) Regional, hosted by Purdue, in a Super Regional. The College World Series starts on June 15 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.

Oregon hasn't hosted an NCAA baseball tournament game since 1954, but the school didn't field a team from 1982 to 2009. The Ducks also went to the postseason tournament in 1964 and 2010.

The Ducks were a surprise this season, after they were picked to finish seventh in the Pac-12 by the league's coaches after going 33-26-1 last season. They had 18 newcomers, having lost four pitchers, including left-handed ace Tyler Anderson, second baseman Danny Pulfer and shortstop KC Serna to the major league draft last year. The team was also hit when starting pitcher Christian Jones had preseason Tommy John surgery.

Horton said last week that much of Oregon's success this season has come from winning close games. The Ducks were 5-12 in one-run games last year, but this year they're 15-5.

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.

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