There was a little extra pop in the cheer by N.C. State’s players Monday when they saw their name flash on the television screen in the NCAA baseball tournament bracket.
N.C. State (34-21) will open Friday against Stony Brook (34-14-1) in the Fort Worth, Texas, regional. After missing the tournament last year, the Wolfpack will make its 11th postseason appearance in 13 years.
“It’s where we belong,” senior shortstop Logan Ratledge said. “Last year wasn’t right, it was a weird feeling not making it.”
Texas Christian (43-11) is the top seed in N.C. State’s region and the No. 7 overall seed in the bracket. The Horned Frogs open at their home field against Sacred Heart (23-30-1) on Friday.
The Wolfpack came on at the end of the season, going 13-3 and reaching the ACC title game to charge into the NCAAs with confidence.
For the first time since 2001, though, the tournament will go on without North Carolina.
It had been that long since the Tar Heels, who lost six consecutive conference games to end the regular season, had missed the tournament. Since 2001, North Carolina had reached the College World Series six times and had become one of the most consistently good teams in the country.
The ACC and SEC tied for most qualifiers with seven apiece, but the Tar Heels were doomed by their 13-16 ACC regular-season mark.
“Any time you’re on the bubble you can’t be surprised, really, one way or the other,” North Carolina coach Mike Fox said. “We just didn’t do enough. We just didn’t do enough – I don’t think we gave the committee enough reasons to get us in, honestly.”
And according to the selection committee, the final four teams in the field were Maryland, South Florida, Oregon and Clemson (32-27), which will open at 6 p.m. Friday against Arizona State (34-21) at Cal State Fullerton. The first four out were North Carolina, Missouri, Michigan State and Southern Mississippi.
UCLA, which finished five games under .500 in 2014 after winning the 2013 national title, so dominated the Pac-12 this spring that the Division I Baseball Committee awarded the Bruins their first No. 1 national seed for the NCAA tournament.
The Bruins (42-14) edged out SEC regular-season champion Louisiana State (48-10) even though UCLA lost two of three at Oregon in its last series.
The other national seeds, in order, are Louisville, Florida, Miami, Illinois, Texas Christian and Missouri State.
The tournament will open Friday with 16 four-team, double-elimination regionals. Best-of-3 super regionals will be next week, with those winners moving to the CWS in Omaha, Neb.
East Carolina (40-20), which won the American Athletic Conference tournament, was placed in Miami’s regional and will open at 1 p.m. Friday against Columbia (31-15). UNC Wilmington (39-16)was put in the LSU regional and will open at 8 p.m. Friday against Tulane (34-23).
Coastal Carolina (38-19) will start at 1 p.m. Friday against California (34-19) at Texas A&M.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri’s team has been the consensus No. 1 team in the major polls for a month. He said he had no problem with the selection committee’s decision on national seedings.
The Tigers have one of the country’s most powerful offenses, batting .320 and scoring 7.2 runs a game. They lost to Florida in the semifinals of the SEC tournament.
“A lot was made of, ‘Are we going to be the No. 1 overall seed?’ I wasn’t the least bit concerned about it,” Mainieri said. “UCLA is very deserving of that honor. We would have been deserving as well. It really doesn’t matter.” Andrew Carter and The Associated Press contributed to this article.