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Cincinnati Bearcats head to NCAA baseball tournament for first time in 45 years

Former Xavier coach leads renaissance at UC
Posted at 9:10 AM, May 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-27 16:20:58-04

CINCINNATI — Scott Googins coached Xavier to four NCAA baseball tournaments and he's already resurrected the University of Cincinnati baseball program in just his second year with the Bearcats.

Googins has led UC into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 45 years, defying just about everyone's expectations. It's the longest drought for any of the 64 teams in the tournament.

Even Googins might had his doubts after UC lost nine of its first 10 games. But the Bearcats swept four games in the American Athletic Conference tournament over the weekend, pounding Connecticut 22-5 on Sunday to earn the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA regional and UC's first conference championship since 1967.

"Early in the season, you believe in the process," Googins said after the bracket was announced Monday. "When you’re 1 and 9 sometimes you’re looking at the results and [thinking] 'Hey, we’re not getting the results we want.' You have to believe and trust in the process, the coaches and the players."

The Bearcats (30-29) are headed to this weekend's regional at Corvallis, Oregon, where they will open against the host school, defending NCAA champion Oregon State (36-18-1), on Friday at 10 p.m. (ET). Oregon State, the 16th overall seed in this year's tournament, is the top seed in the regional. UC is seeded fourth.

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No. 2 seed Creighton (38-11) will meet No. 3 seed Michigan (41-18) in the other first-round game at Corvallis. The winner of the four-team, two-and-out tournament advances to the super regional.

Googins started the baseball renaissance at UC with a 28-28 record in 2018 - UC's best season since 2011. In 12 years at Xavier, Googins became XU's all-time winningest coach (341-357) with back-to-back regional finals berths in 2016 and 2017 and six regular season or conference tournament championships.

After their slow start to the season, the Bearcats went 16-13 leading up to the AAC tournament, including wins over Ohio State and Xavier. But a poll still picked them to finish dead last in the tournament, and no wonder. UC entered this year's tournament 0-10 in the AAC postseason and 0-17 in conference postseasons dating back to 2008.

The last time UC was in the NCAA Baseball Tournament was in 1974. This will be UC's sixth trip to the NCAA postseason. Oregon State, on the other hand, has won three NCAA titles including 2006 and 2007 and reached the College World Series seven times (six since 2005)

UCLA (47-8) is the top overall seed in the 64-team tournament. The winner of the Corvallis regional will play the winner of the UCLA regional in the super regional round.

SEE the bracket and more at