The UT Dallas baseball team's thin hopes for an at-large bid into the 2009 NCAA Division III national tournament vanished early on Monday, May 11 when the 54-team field was announced for the national playoffs.
UT Dallas (28-18), which had been ranked sixth in the NCAA's West Region, was not among the six teams selected to attend the West Regionals starting this weekend at Linfield College, in McMinnville, Oregon. The sixth seed spot instead went to unranked Hendrix College (22-21), which won an automatic bid two weeks ago after defeating Trinity University to win the Southern Collegiate Athletic Association (SCAC) championship.
The SCAC did not have a team in the top 6 of the regional rankings, but does hold an automatic berth for its conference champion. Unranked conference champions often eliminate teams near the lower half of their regional rankings.
The Comets had been in a pool of other regionally-ranked teams who were eligible to receive one of just 16 Pool B & Pool C at-large bids after the 38 conference champion automatic berths had been awarded. UT Dallas, however, had more overall losses (18) than most of the other teams in the rankings nationally, and was just 27-14 in games against other teams in the West Region.
Two 2009 UT Dallas opponents - American Southwest Conference champion UT-Tyler (38-10) and Adrian College (MI) (31-9) – were among the 54 teams selected for the tournament. UT Dallas won just one-of-five meetings this season with UT-Tyler, and fell to Adrian 9-8 in 10 innings on March 4.
The West Division regional will include:
Linfield College Regional, McMinnville, Oregon
1. Pomona-Pitzer (35-5)
2. Texas-Tyler (38-10)
3. Cal Lutheran (31-9)
4. George Fox (33-9)
5. Chapman (26-14)
6. Hendrix (22-21)
The Comets received their only at-large bid into the tournament in 2007, and advanced to the West Regionals semifinals before being eliminated.