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Just like the other major college sports, there is a carrot at the end of the stick for the Division I baseball teams. The national champion is crowned at the end-of-season eight-team College World Series, which takes place in June at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. The baseball schedule is grueling, typically consisting of near 50 games in a season, which starts at the end of February and runs through May.

A total of 64 teams qualify for the postseason tournament, including conference champions and at-large teams. The field is whittled down to eight teams through Regionals and Super Regionals that take place in the weekends preceding the CWS. The 2019 NCAA Baseball Tournament will be run from May 31 through the end of the College World Series with the latest date of June 26. All of the action from the first pitch of the tournament through the last of the College World Series can be found on the ESPN family of networks.

NCAA Baseball Tournament Format

Just like the NCAA basketball tournament, there are automatic qualifiers for all conference tournament champions. But unlike the NCAA Tournament, a college baseball team's season ends after two losses, not just one. On the eve of the selection of the brackets for the NCAA Baseball Tournament, the Selection Committee releases the top 16 seeds. Those 16 teams host four-team Regionals. The teams are seeded 1 through 4 in each mini-bracket, with No. 1 playing No. 4 in one game and No. 2 playing No. 3 in the other. The two winners face off in the second round of games, while the two losers meet in an elimination game on the same day.

From there, the two teams with one-loss meet in a second elimination game, while the 2-0 team can rest up a day. Whichever team emerges from the second one-loss game will have to win two games against the unbeaten club to advance. From there, the 16 remaining teams face off in Super Regionals. The teams are bracketed together just like in basketball, so you could easily see a pair of 4-seeds facing off for the right to go to the College World Series. The Super Regionals are best-of-three series, and the first to two wins advances to Omaha for the College World Series. In the College World Series, teams are split into two brackets of four, and the whole process begins again. The survivors of the two brackets play against each other in a best-of-three series to determine the National Champion.

Most National Championships

WINS TEAM YEARS
12 USC 1948, 1958, 1961, 1963, 1968, 1970-1974, 1978, 1998
6 LSU 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2009
6 Texas 1949, 1950, 1975, 1983, 2002, 2005
5 Arizona State 1965, 1967, 1969, 1977, 1981
4 Arizona 1976, 1980, 1986, 2012
4 Cal State Fullerton 1979, 1984, 1995, 2004
4 Miami 1982, 1985, 1999, 2001
3 Oregon State 2006, 2007, 2018
3 Minnesota 1956, 1960, 1964
2 California 1947, 1957
2 Michigan 1953, 1962
2 Oklahoma 1951, 1994
2 South Carolina 2010, 2011
2 Stanford 1987, 1988

Oregon State became the ninth school to win at least three national championships by downing Arkansas in three games in the 2018 CWS. The Beavers rallied from the losers bracket to advance to the final, where they again overcame a loss to win the next two games. The Beavers won back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, USC had the dominant program. There were fewer teams at that point, thus it shouldn't be surprising that a national powerhouse was able to stay on top for a long period of time. The Trojans won nine titles during those two decades, including a run of five straight from 1970-1974. USC’s 12 NCAA Tournament championships are double that of any other school.

LSU has been the team of the 1990s and early-2000s. The Tigers didn't even reach the College World Series for the first time until 1986. The Tigers won four titles in the 1990s and their other two in the 2000s. Texas is the other team with six championships. The Longhorns have won titles dating as far back as 1949 and all the way up to 2005, and their 36 appearances in the CWS is 11 more than Miami.

Florida State holds the record for the most College World Series appearances without a National Championship with 22. The Seminoles are playing in their 40th consecutive NCAA Baseball Tournament, also an all-time record.

List of NCAA Baseball Tournament Champions

YEAR WINNER RUNNER-UP
2018 Oregon State Arkansas
2017 Florida LSU
2016 Coastal Carolina Arizona
2015 Virginia Vanderbilt
2014 Vanderbilt Virginia
2013 UCLA Mississippi State
2012 Arizona South Carolina
2011 South Carolina Florida
2010 South Carolina UCLA
2009 LSU Texas
2008 Fresno State Georgia
2007 Oregon State North Carolina
2006 Oregon State North Carolina
2005 Texas Florida
2004 Cal State Fullerton Texas
2003 Rice Stanford
2002 Texas South Carolina
2001 Miami Stanford
2000 LSU Stanford
Full List
1999 Miami Florida State
1998 USC Arizona State
1997 LSU Alabama
1996 LSU Miami
1995 Cal State Fullerton USC
1994 Oklahoma Georgia Tech
1993 LSU Wichita State
1992 Pepperdine Cal State Fullerton
1991 LSU Wichita State
1990 Georgia Oklahoma State
1989 Wichita State Texas
1988 Stanford Arizona State
1987 Stanford Oklahoma State
1986 Arizona Florida State
1985 Miami Texas
1984 Cal State Fullerton Texas
1983 Texas Alabama
1982 Miami Wichita State
1981 Arizona State Oklahoma State
1980 Arizona Hawai’i
1979 Cal State Fullerton Arkansas
1978 USC Arizona State
1977 Arizona State South Carolina
1976 Arizona Eastern Michigan
1975 Texas South Carolina
1974 USC Miami
1973 USC Arizona State
1972 USC Arizona State
1971 USC Southern Illinois
1970 USC Florida State
1969 Arizona State Tulsa
1968 USC Southern Illinois
1967 Arizona State Houston
1966 Ohio State Oklahoma State
1965 Arizona State Ohio State
1964 Minnesota Missouri
1963 USC Arizona
1962 Michigan Santa Clara
1961 USC Oklahoma State
1960 Minnesota USC
1959 Oklahoma State Arizona
1958 USC Missouri
1957 California Penn State
1956 Minnesota Arizona
1955 Wake Forest Western Michigan
1954 Missouri Rollins
1953 Michigan Texas
1952 Holy Cross Missouri
1951 Oklahoma Tennessee
1950 Texas Washington State
1949 Texas Wake Forest
1948 USC Yale
1947 California Yale
Baseball Betting Bonus

The best run of dominance in the history of the College World Series clearly belongs to USC. The Trojans won five straight championships from 1970 to 1974, and it's unlikely that feat will ever be duplicated. However, going back-to-back isn't anything unusual. South Carolina was the last to do it in 2010 and 2011, while Oregon State did it in 2006 and 2007, beating North Carolina both times. Vanderbilt and Virginia played against each other in the National Championship Series in consecutive years in 2014 and 2015. Both series went the maximum three games. Vandy took the first, while the Hoos exacted revenge the next season.

Coastal Carolina is one of the most improbable champions in the history of the NCAA Baseball Tournament. The Chanticleers were the 2-seed in the Raleigh Regional in 2016, winning two of three games against N.C. State before sweeping LSU in the Super Regionals. Playing in their first ever College World Series, the Chants started off by upsetting top-seed Florida before rolling into the final from there. Coastal Carolina finished the job by winning Games 2 and 3 over the Wildcats after getting shutout in Game 1, thus completing one of the great accomplishments in the history of college baseball.

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