NEW YORK — Florida, ranked No. 1 in every major preseason poll, was selected Monday as the top seed for the 64-team NCAA Division I college baseball tournament.
The Gators (42-18) will host one of 16 four-team, double-elimination regionals that begin Friday. Florida opens against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion Bethune-Cookman (34-25).
Kyle Kallander, chairman of the Division I baseball committee, said Florida got the top seed in "a close vote," but the Gators' overall body of work — including a 21-10 record against top 25 teams — put them in front of the field.
The other national seeds, in order, are: UCLA, Florida State, Baylor, Oregon, North Carolina, LSU and two-time defending College World Series champion South Carolina.
The Gamecocks (40-17) are trying to join the 1970-74 Southern California squads as the only teams to win three or more consecutive national titles. South Carolina opens against Manhattan (33-25), the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament champion.
Florida and South Carolina are among a tournament field-leading eight Southeastern Conference teams, including Arkansas, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.
The Atlantic Coast Conference is second with seven teams: Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Virginia. The Pac-12 has five with Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford and UCLA.
The 16 regional winners move on to the best-of-three super regionals. Those eight winners advance to the College World Series, which begins June 15 in Omaha, Neb., at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.
Miami (36-21) is in the tournament for the 40th straight year, extending its own record, while Florida State is making its 35th consecutive appearance. Dayton (31-28) and Samford (39-21) are in for the first time.
Among those not in this year are Texas (30-22), which last missed out in 1998, and Utah Valley (47-12), which led all of Division I in wins but had a low RPI. Kallander said both were among 12 schools considered for the last couple of spots.