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College baseball notebook: Conference tournaments to decide NCAA automatic bids and many at-large

The field for the NCAA baseball tournament will take shape this week with conference tournaments determining most of the 30 automatic qualifiers. There are also 34 major bids at stake.

The 16 NCAA regional hosts will be announced Sunday, with the rest of the 64-team field next Monday. The College World Series takes place June 14 through June 23 or 24 in Omaha, Nebraska.

A look at the tournaments in the power conferences:

ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE

Location: Truistveld; Charlotte, North Carolina.

Days: Tuesday to Sunday.

2023 Champion: Clemson.

Top seed: North Carolina.

Short jumps: The Tar Heels’ 22 ACC wins match their most since 2018, and they head to Charlotte with wins in 10 of their last 11 overall. … This is the 50th ACC tournament and the 26th played in the state of North Carolina. Only Virginia and Clemson have participated in all games. … Wake Forest’s Chase Burns leads the nation with 169 strikeouts. … Virginia’s .340 batting average is best among Power Five teams and third overall.

BIG TEN

Location: Charles Schwab Field; Omaha, Nebraska.

Days: Tuesday to Sunday.

2023 Champion: Maryland.

Top seed: Illinois.

Short jumps: The Illini won their first regular-season title since 2015. … They have a conference-leading 103 home runs, 26 more than the next closest team, Maryland. …Penn State’s JT Marr is hitting a conference-best .419. … Illinois’ Camden Janik is the nation’s second-heaviest hitter by strikeout after fanning 10 times in 200 at-bats. … Nebraska’s Brett Sears (8-0) is among the five undefeated pitchers in the country with at least eight decisions.

BIG 12

Location: Globe Life Field; Arlington, Texas.

Days: Tuesday to Saturday.

2023 Champion: TCU.

Top seed: Oklahoma.

Short jumps: Sooners won their first regular-season title since 1995 in the old Big Eight. … All 10 participating teams have a top-70 RPI, with seven in the top 50. … Big 12 pitcher of the year Payton Tolle (7-3) of TCU enters with 116 strikeouts and a 2.96 ERA, both competition best. … Conference Player of the Year Max Belyeu of Texas hit 11 of his 17 home runs in regular-season games and is batting .341 with 14 doubles and 49 RBIs. … Kansas State first baseman David Bishop has no errors in 354 chances after making three in 178 at TCU last season.

PAC-12

Location: Scottsdale Stadium; Scottsdale, Ariz.

Days: Tuesday to Saturday.

2022 Champion: Oregon.

Top seed: Arizona.

Short hops: This will be the last Pac-12 tournament, with 10 of the 12 programs going to different conferences. … Arizona has the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the country (3.42 to 1). … Travis Bazzana’s .429 batting average for Oregon State is second nationally and his .587 on-base percentage ranks first. …Arizona State and Southern California enter on six-game win streaks. … Stanford (20-32) has lost 10 straight games and will need to win the tournament to appear in a fourth straight NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal have played in the last three College World Series. Their next loss would be their program record 33rd.

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

Location: Hoover Metropolitan Stadium; Hoover, AL.

Days: Tuesday to Sunday.

2022 Champion: Vanderbilt.

Top seed: Tennessee.

Short jumps: Charlie Condon’s 35 home runs for Georgia are the most since Lance Berkman finished with 41 for Rice in 1997. Condon’s batting average of .451 leads the nation. … Arkansas’ Hagen Smith is on pace to set a Division I record for strikeouts per nine innings. He enters the tournament with an average of 17.53. … Tennessee’s 11 grand slams are an SEC record. Arizona State holds the national record with 14 in 2003. … Defending national champion LSU won four of its last five SEC series and 14 of its last 19 games to position itself for an at-large bid from the NCAA.

IN THE POLLS

Tennessee and co-SEC regular season champion Kentucky remained Nos. 1 and 2 in the D1Baseball.com and Baseball America polls. Clemson is ranked No. 3 by D1Baseball and North Carolina is ranked No. 3 by Baseball America.

Tennessee (46-10) finished the regular season with four straight wins, including a sweep against South Carolina. Kentucky (39-12) closed with a series win over Vanderbilt.

Clemson (40-13) defeated Boston College to win the ACC Atlantic Division.

DOUBLE FIRST BASE IN SEC

The SEC announced Monday that it would use double first base in its conference tournament on an experimental basis. The goal is to reduce collisions between the defense and the batter-runner at first base. It has been used in several SEC non-conference games this season.

A white base is on the inside of the baseline; a green or orange base is on the outside. A batted ball is good if it hits or bounces over the white pocket; it is a foul if the ball goes over the colored bag without first touching or jumping over the white bag. When the first play is made on the batter-runner at first base, the defense must use the white portion of the double base and the batter-runner must use the colored base, except in the case of a dropped third strike.

CLEARANCE PLACE

The final two days of the Ivy League tournament were moved from Columbia’s campus stadium to Yogi Berra Stadium in Montclair State (NJ). A hole that formed in the artificial surface on the hill raised concerns about the players’ safety. … Creighton coach Ed Servais announced Monday that he will retire after his 22nd season in 2025. His 678 wins and .627 winning percentage are the best in program history. … Big Ten all-time coaching wins leader John Anderson of Minnesota retired with a 4-2 win at Northwestern. The Gophers (25-23, 11-13) failed to qualify for the conference tournament. Anderson, 69, finished with 623 Big Ten wins and an all-time record of 1,390-1,018-3 (.577). He ranks 14th on the national career wins list. … Air Force (26-26, 18-12) finished one game ahead of New Mexico to win the Mountain West regular-season title for the first time.

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AP college sports: https://apnews.com/hub/college-sports

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