UConn Baseball Wins Conference Championship, Advances to NCAA Tournament

The team celebrates their 7-2 win over Houston to take the 2016 AAC Championship title. (Stephen Slade '89 (SFA) for UConn)
The team celebrates their 7-2 win over Houston to take the 2016 AAC Championship title. (Stephen Slade '89 (SFA) for UConn)

SHARELINES

The UConn baseball team holds up the 2016 AAC Championship trophy. (Stephen Slade '89 (SFA) for UConn)
The UConn baseball team holds up the 2016 AAC Championship trophy. (Stephen Slade ’89 (SFA) for UConn)

The UConn baseball team won the 2016 American Athletic Conference championship Sunday, earning an automatic berth in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, which begins later this week.

They will begin play in the Gainesville, Fla. Regional, hosted by the University of Florida. Connecticut was selected as the No. 3 seed in the Gainesville Regional and will face No. 2 seed Georgia Tech on Friday, June 3 at 1 p.m.

The Huskies and Yellow Jackets are joined in the Regional by the No. 1 seed University of Florida Gators and No. 4 seed Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. NCAA opening regionals serve as four-team, double-elimination tournaments. The winner of the Gainesville Regional will advance to play the winner of the Tallahassee, Fla. Regional in a Super Region best-of-three series.

This will be the team’s 19th NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2013. The team earned at-large bids in 2010 and 2011, and earned an automatic qualifier in 2013 after winning the final Big East championship.

The Huskies earned an automatic berth into the national tournament after picking up four wins in five days at The American championship at Bright House Field on May 25-29. Connecticut finished off its championship run with a 7-2 victory over fifth-seeded Houston in Sunday’s title game.

The UConn baseball team at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla., for the 2016 AAC Championship game. (Stephen Slade '89 (SFA) for UConn)
The UConn baseball team at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla., for the 2016 AAC Championship game. (Stephen Slade ’89 (SFA) for UConn)

The league title is the Huskies’ first since joining The American prior to 2014, and the fourth in the program’s history, with conference championships in 1990, 1994, 2013, as well as 2016.

During the conference championship May 25-29, UConn won four of its five games. But in the semifinal on Saturday afternoon, No. 6 Memphis beat No. 3 UConn, 9-5, putting an end to UConn’s 11-game winning streak. That forced a Memphis-UConn rematch at 5:40 p.m. the same day, as UConn battled for a spot in Sunday’s final, the Huskies’ third consecutive game in 24 hours.

UConn’s opponent in the final, the Houston Cougars, had previously won the inaugural American Athletic Conference title in 2014 and were playing in the championship game for the third straight year.

Back in Storrs on Monday, the Huskies held a Selection Show “Watch Party” with members of the media at the Burton Family Football Complex, before selected team members and coaches participated in interviews after learning details of the upcoming NCAA Tournament.