NORFOLK, Va. - After the program's most successful season since 2006, Old Dominion baseball was not rewarded with a berth into the NCAA postseason tournament.
The Monarchs were denied an at large berth into the 64 team tournament despite its 37-21 overall record and a second-place finish in Conference USA during the regular season.
"I thought we had a 50/50 shot last night," admitted ODU catcher/designated hitter Kurt Sinnen. "But then, not seeing our name pop-up - it leaves a sour taste in your mouth."
According to Scott Sidwell, chair of the NCAA baseball tournament selection committee, six teams that earned their conference's automatic berth into the field of 64 by winning their league's postseason tournament would not have been selected as at large teams. Those occurrences meant fewer at large bids for bubble/fringe teams like ODU. Sidwell added the Monarchs' second place finish in Conference USA, rated as the nation's sixth best conference, did not factor into ODU's fate.
"It's not necessarily about what conference you're in," Sidwell told reporters on a conference call. "It's about your team and how it stacks up against others. What ratings percentage index (RPI) a conference is is not something established as part of our [selection] criteria."
"We have nothing to be disappointed about," added shortstop Zach Rutherford. "We played our schedule, we finished second in Conference USA, we controlled what we can control."
Old Dominion won 12 of its 14 weekend series and did not have a losing streak of three games or longer all season, but lost four of its final 10 games - including a 1-and-2 showing at the Conference USA tournament, and finished the season with a (RPI) of 50.
Rice, a team the Monarchs swept earlier this season, won the CUSA tournament to secure the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Regular season champion Southern Miss, whose set a program record for wins this season, was the only other Conference USA team to receive a berth.
"Somebody that didn't see us play, it's easy to say 'they didn't win enough down the stretch' or something like that," explained ODU head coach Chris Finwood. "But for those that watched us play, they would agree these guys gave us everything they had. There's nothing I can say that will make these guys feel any better. This is 29 years doing this at this level for me and I can't remember being more proud of a group of guys."