May 27, 2013 9:39:31 AM
STARKVILLE - For the first time in a decade, Dudy Noble Field will the host of a NCAA regional game.
The NCAA announced Sunday night No. 16 MSU (43-17) was announced as one of the 16 host sites Sunday night. The other 15 host schools were as follows: Louisiana State University (52-9), Virginia Tech University (38-20), Indiana University (43-14), North Carolina (52-8), University of Virginia (47-10), University of South Carolina (39-18), Oregon State University (45-10), University of Oregon (45-14), California State University at Fullerton (48-8), UCLA (39-17), University of Louisville (46-10), Kansas State University (41-17), Vanderbilt University (51-9), North Carolina State University (44-14), Mississippi State University (43-17) and Florida State University (44-15).
Two institutions are hosting for the 20th time or more as Florida State leads the list of schools with 30 and LSU with 21. South Carolina is hosting for the 15th time. MSU. (12th) and California State at Fullerton (11th) are the only other institutions to host 10 or more times since the NCAA went to the regional format in 1975.
North Carolina is hosting for the seventh time, while Virginia is hosting a regional for the sixth time and UCLA is hosting for the fifth time. North Carolina State and Oregon State are hosting for the fourth time, while Louisville and Vanderbilt for the third time. Oregon is hosting for the second time, while rounding out the list and hosting for the first time are Indiana, Kansas St., and Virginia Tech. Eight institutions (Florida State, LSU, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Oregon, South Carolina, UCLA and Virginia) also hosted in 2012.
MSU will learn of the three teams coming to Starkville when the full 64-team field is announced today at 11 a.m. on ESPNU. The 2013 Starkville Regional begins Friday with games at 2 and 7 p.m., with MSU playing in the later game versus the No. 4 seed.
MSU closed the season by securing, what was considered by all the national analysts, a host bid with wins in seven of its last nine contests, including a 3-1 mark at last week's Southeastern Conference tournament in Hoover, Ala.
"Having played in a regional tournament at Dudy Noble Field three times during my career at Mississippi State, I can attest to the electric atmosphere that our fans create," MSU coach John Cohen said. "I'm excited about our players having the opportunity to experience that great tournament atmosphere here. They have earned this opportunity to play in front of the best college baseball fans in America."
Cohen played on MSU teams that competed in regional tournaments at Dudy Noble Field in 1988, 1989 and 1990. State won the 1990 event and advanced to the fifth of MSU's eighth NCAA College World Series appearances. 2013 will represent the first MSU with Cohen as head coach to host a regional.
"We want progress for this program every year and this just another step for us," Cohen said. "The ultimate goal for this program is to be holding that trophy in Omaha at the College World Series but I'll say this too, a 40-win regular season is something along that path of success too. These kids and these coaches and these fans have come a long way to put this program back to where everybody deserves it to be."
Mississippi State has previously hosted 11 NCAA Baseball Regionals, with the last coming in 2003. Dudy Noble Field also was home to Mississippi State's 2007 NCAA Super Regional victory over Clemson. The Bulldogs have advanced six of the 12 times when hosting postseason rounds.
"There's a lot of emotion that goes into Mississippi State baseball and from our players, coaches, administration and to the fans - it sure does seem to be a family deal here," MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin said. "It's been 21 years since I've been to a regional at Dudy Noble Field and this is the reference point for how people grew up being Mississippi State baseball fans. I know I've been to regionals all over the country for the past two decades and the standard I've held them up to is what I remembered right here in Starkville."
MSU's 2013 resume included an ratings percentage ranking of 10, a record of 21-15 against schools in the top 50 of the RPI. The Bulldogs played the toughest SEC schedule this season, with its 10 opponents owning an average RPI rank of 25.1 - all of those teams currently reside in the top 50.
After regional play, selection of the eight super regional hosts will be announced June 3 at approximately 11 p.m. ET.
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.
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