Arizona State overcame a sudden coaching change before the season, won the Pac-10 title and was chosen yesterday as the top seed for the 64-team Division I college baseball tournament.
"They really didn't make very many mistakes throughout the course of the season and down the stretch," committee chairman Tim Weiser said of the 47-8 Sun Devils. "I think they, for the most part, from beginning to end have been a team that people have recognized and looked at as kind of separate from a lot of other teams."
The other national seeds, in order, are: Texas (46-11), Florida (42-15), Coastal Carolina (51-7), Virginia (47-11), UCLA (43-13), Louisville (48-12) and Georgia Tech (45-13). The Atlantic Coast Conference, Pac-10 and Southeastern Conference each had eight teams selected by the NCAA baseball committee, all-time highs for both the ACC and Pac-10.
"It was a unique feature for us, especially when it came to trying to determine how we distribute these teams from a regional standpoint," Weiser said.
The 16 regional winners move on to the best-of-three super regionals, with those winners advancing to the College World Series, which begins June 19 in Omaha, Neb. It will be the last one played at Rosenblatt Stadium, the home of college baseball's premier event since 1950. The eight-team championship will move to a new ballpark in downtown Omaha next season.
Arizona State has had an outstanding season under interim coach Tim Esmay, who replaced Pat Murphy after he abruptly resigned in November after 15 years. The Sun Devils will host one of 16 four-team, double-elimination regionals that begin Friday. Arizona State opens against Horizon League champion Milwaukee (33-24).
In other college news:
* Stanford's Bradley Klahn won the NCAA tennis men's singles title at the University of Georgia, and his teammates, Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette, won the women's doubles crown. Georgia's Chelsea Gullickson won the women's singles title.
* Reigning NCAA golf champion Matt Hill is turning pro, skipping his final year at North Carolina State after missing a chance to defend his title. Hill announced that he will make his pro debut this week at the PGA Tour's Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village in Ohio.
* Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde received a global, 2-year ban for his connection to a blood-doping ring, but was allowed to keep his 2009 Spanish Vuelta victory. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in favor of the International Cycling Union and World Anti-Doping Agency, which wanted Valverde sanctioned for suspected doping revealed in a 2006 Spanish scandal known as Operation Puerto. The 30-year-old Valverde cannot compete until January 2012.
* The U.S. World Cup soccer team arrived in Johannesburg following a 17-hour flight, and will continue its preparations for its June 12 opener against England.