Minnesota Collects Berth In 2004 NCAA Championship
May 31, 2004
After becoming the first Big Ten team since 1995 to claim both the regular season and tournament titles, Minnesota (38-21) will be the Conference's lone representative in the 64-team field of the 2004 NCAA Baseball Championship. The Gophers are the No. 3 seed in the Fullerton, California, regional and will open against the host institution, second-seeded Cal State Fullerton (36-20). Regional play is scheduled to begin on Friday, June 4, as four teams will compete for one of 16 spots in the super regionals to start on June 11.
Minnesota collected its second consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament and sixth bid in the past seven seasons, as the team claimed the League's automatic berth by winning the 2004 Big Ten Tournament crown on Sunday, May 30. The Gophers claimed their third straight Conference regular season title this season, and fourth in the last five years, and went on to win the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2001. The last Conference squad to clinch both the regular season and tourney championships was Ohio State in 1995.
Minnesota will be joined in Fullerton by opening-game foe Cal State Fullerton, No. 1 seed Arizona State (40-16) and No. 4 Pepperdine (28-30). The Gophers will be making their 10th appearance in the NCAA Championship since 1990 and their 27th overall, a total that leads all League schools. The program produced a 1-2 mark in last year's NCAA Tournament, including a victory over possible 2004 opponent Pepperdine, before being edged, 5-3, by Washington on the campus of Long Beach State in California.
The first weekend of NCAA Championship play features 16 four-team regionals using a double-elimination format. Regional play runs from June 4-6, with 16 winners advancing to the next round. The eight two-team super regional sites will be determined on Sunday, June 6, with play set for June 11-14 in a best-of-three format. The College World Series opens on Friday, June 18, in Omaha, Nebraska.
2004 NCAA Division I Championship Schedule
Cal State Fullerton Regional
Friday, June 4
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES
The last Conference team to reach the College World Series was Michigan in 1984.
The last Big Ten squad to reach a super regional was Ohio State in 2003.
Minnesota has now made 10 trips to the NCAA Championship since 1990, which is tied with Ohio State for the League lead.
The eight other Big Ten teams have made seven combined appearances since 1990.
Minnesota tops all Conference teams with 27 NCAA Championship bids, followed by Michigan (17) and Ohio State (16).
Penn State has made 19 total NCAA appearances but only one (2000) since joining the Big Ten.
Michigan leads all Big Ten schools with 55 NCAA Championship wins and a .618 winning percentage (55-34).
Minnesota and Ohio State rate second and third among League schools in NCAA Championship wins with 49 and 38, respectively.