CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia baseball team opens the 2016 NCAA Baseball Championship at 1 p.m. Friday when it plays William & Mary in the NCAA Charlottesville Regional at Davenport Field. Virginia (37-20) serves as the top seed in the regional and is hosting a regional for the ninth time in the last 13 seasons.
Following the UVA-William & Mary game Friday, Bryant and East Carolina play at 6 p.m.
The losing teams from Friday will play in an elimination game at 1 p.m. Saturday, while the winners will battle at 6 p.m. Saturday. The second elimination game will be contested at 1 p.m. Sunday, with the championship game slated for 6 p.m. Sunday. If necessary, a second championship game will be played at 6 p.m. Monday.
All games in the regional will be broadcast online on ESPN3.
The winner of the Charlottesville Regional will advance to play the champion of the Lubbock Regional in an NCAA Super Regional June 10-13. The Lubbock Regional consists of host Texas Tech, Dallas Baptist, New Mexico and Fairfield.
2016 NCAA Charlottesville Regional Schedule (all games broadcast on ESPN3)
Friday, June 3
Game 1 – No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 4 William & Mary, 1 p.m.
Game 2 – No. 2 Bryant vs. No. 3 East Carolina, 6 p.m.
Saturday, June 4
Game 3 – Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 1 p.m.
Game 4 – Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 6 p.m.
Sunday, June 5
Game 5 – Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 1 p.m.
Game 6 – Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 4, 6 p.m.
Monday, June 6
Game 7 – Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6 (if necessary), 6 p.m.
Virginia will serve as a regional host site for the ninth time in program history – all within the last 13 years (2004, 2006, 2007, 2010-2014, 2016). UVA is making its 13th-consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament under head coach Brian O’Connor and its 16th all-time. The 2015 National Champions, Virginia is one of five schools to compete in each of the last 13 tournaments. After starting 20-14 this season, the Cavaliers went 17-6 down the stretch and won each of their final five ACC series.
No. 2 seed Bryant (47-10, 26-4 NEC) rolled to the Northeast Conference championship to earn an automatic berth in the tournament as the Bulldogs became the first NEC team to claim a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. Ranked 20th nationally by Baseball America, Bryant will be making its third NCAA appearance in the last four years after serving as a No. 3 seed in 2013 (Manhattan, Kan.) and 2014 (Baton Rouge, La.). Bryant enters the NCAA Tournament with the most wins in Division I and the best run differential in the country (+4.7). The Bulldogs feature one of the nation’s potent offenses with a .324 team batting average as five starters are batting over .300 and eight regulars are hitting at least .284. UVA and Bryant have not previously met.
No. 3 seed East Carolina (34-21-1, 15-8-1 AAC) is an at-large entry in the tournament after a second-place regular-season finish in the American Athletic Conference. The Pirates and Cavaliers are familiar with one another, as ECU won two of three games in a regular-season series at Davenport Field in February. ECU is making its 28th appearance in the NCAA tournament and also appeared in the 2011 Charlottesville Regional. The Pirates’ pitching staff has been solid with a 3.99 team ERA as all three of its weekend starters own an ERA under 3.00. Freshman Dwanya Williams-Sutton leads the team in batting at .368 while ECU is hitting .287 as a team. UVA holds a 32-20 edge in the all-time series.
No. 4 seed William & Mary (29-29, 14-9 CAA) earned an automatic berth into the tournament after rallying to win the Colonial Athletic Association championship. It marks the Tribe’s fourth trip to the NCAA tournament. After losing its first game in the CAA tournament, W&M bounced back to win four straight games, including rallying from an 8-1 ninth-inning deficit against top-seeded UNC Wilmington to win in 12 innings and force a second championship game against UNCW, which the Tribe won, 14-9. UVA and W&M played on March 1 in Charlottesville, with the Cavaliers prevailing, 16-8. Charley Gould leads the team in batting at .335, while Cullen Large is hitting .328. UVA leads the all-time series with W&M, 74-29-2.