Hofstra's Will Kennedy rounds the bases after his home run...

Hofstra's Will Kennedy rounds the bases after his home run during the CAA baseball championship game against Northeastern on Sunday, May 29, 2022, in Elon, N.C. Credit: Abbey Lipcsic

The NCAA baseball tournament will begin in hostile territory for both Long Island University and Hofstra. The two schools, who clinched automatic bids into the national tournament by winning their conference tournaments on Sunday, will face host schools in the first game of opening round regionals Friday.

Hofstra, which is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, will face No. 10 North Carolina in the Chapel Hill Regional at 2 p.m. and LIU, which is in the tournament for the third time, will face No. 15 Maryland in the College Park Regional at 7 p.m. Both LIU and Hofstra are seeded fourth in their four-team regional.

The selections were announced Monday afternoon.

“We’re not concerned about that at all,” said Hofstra coach Frank Catalanotto of opening against a host school. “We had to do that in the CAA tournament, open up in Elon [North Carolina] against Elon. My team has been resilient all year long and we don’t care where we play. We’re a team that has a belief that every time we step on the field, we’re going to win the baseball game.”

Said LIU coach Dan Pirillo: “Any [of the host schools] are all going to be really good and Maryland is no different.”

Each opening round regional is a double-elimination mini-tournament. LIU’s regional also includes Wake Forest and UConn and Hofstra’s regional features VCU and Georgia. One team from each regional advances to a super regional best-of-3 series. The super regional winners play in the College World Series, which begins June 17 in Omaha, Nebraska.

Hofstra (30-21) is on a nine-game winning streak. They swept through the CAA tournament, winning three of four games in walk-off fashion and all four by one run.

“We’re throwing strikes and making plays behind the pitcher,” Catalanotto said. “We’ve been really good defensively and have been getting clutch hits. When we need to score big runs, especially late in the game we’ve been getting those hits.”

LIU (37-19) won the most games as a Division I team in program history. The captured the Northeast Conference Tournament championship Sunday after a 7-0 victory over Bryant in a winner-take-all game. They won 3 of 4 games in the NEC tournament, a win over Fairleigh Dickinson and two victories over Bryant.

“We’re really playing together as a team,” Pirillo said. “Up and down the lineup, we’ve got different guys stepping up each night. We’re not really relying on one or two guys to do all the work. Some nights, our seventh or eighth hitters have some big hits or big at-bats.”

Both Catalanotto and Pirillo said that they haven’t determined who will start on the mound in their respective opening games.

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