ACC All Access: Virginia Tech's Pete Hughes was fed up with questions about his team's regional hosting worthiness

By the time Virginia Tech coach Pete Hughes and his team were done in Durham, N.C. this weekend at the ACC tournament, he was starting to think nearly every person that asked him a question about his program lacked originality.

His frustration was borne out of supreme confidence in his team, and the idea there was no need to ask the same question over and over again. Did his team deserve to host the first NCAA baseball tournament regional in school history? There wasn’t much doubt in the clearly biased mind of Hughes.

On Sunday night, it turned out the NCAA tournament selection committee agreed with Hughes’ assessment.

Tech (38-20), which lost 4-1 Sunday to North Carolina in the ACC tournament championship game, and Virginia were both picked to be two of 16 teams to host regionals in the tournament. The rest of the 64-team field will be announced Monday at noon.

“Honestly, I thought we should’ve been a regional host before the game even started with our resume,” said Hughes on Sunday night to the Daily Press. “It’s not being arrogant. I’m just talking facts. I was sick of answering the question. If I had another name on my jersey, I wouldn’t get those questions asked. When you’re building, you don’t have that luxury.

“I fielded those questions all day long before the game, but we wanted to win an ACC championship, too. It was disappointing. I think our kids are more disappointed than anyone else, because we didn’t play well. I’m happy for those guys, because they’re going to have a second chance to play good on a bigger stage and get to our ultimate goal, which is Omaha.

“I think things are pointed in the right direction by being a host. We’re in an advantage playing at home, sleeping in your own bed and playing on a field where you’re comfortable. Our kids love playing at home. Getting a No. 1 seed, it’s awesome for our program.”

William & Mary (37-22) hopes to be included among the field of 64. It lost in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament championship game to Towson.

W&M set a school record with 17 conference wins (17-10, eclipsing the previous record of 16 wins), and it’s a respectable No. 44 in ratings percentage index projections posted by the website. W&M's only other NCAA tournament appearances came in 1983 and 2001.

Aaron Fitt, who is Baseball America’s national writer for college baseball, didn’t have W&M included in his projected field of 64. He correctly picked all 16 regional hosts.


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While Tech will gets its first shot at hosting a regional, U.Va. (47-10) will be hosting a regional for the fourth consecutive season. U.Va., which has also hosted a regional in seven of the last 10 seasons, is one of three schools to host a regional in each of the last four years. South Carolina and UCLA are the other two schools.

Tech, which will be making its first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2010, will add 1,000 temporary seats to English Field this week to accommodate what is expected to be an enthusiastic fan base. The temporary additions will increase field seating capacity to 5,500, including 1,033 permanent chair-back seats.

Tech’s position in the RPI had to have played a huge role in its selection as a regional host. Tech is No. 11 in RPI projections, according to U.Va. is No. 3.

Finishing the regular season and conference tournament as strong as it did also didn’t hurt Tech’s chances of hosting a regional. It had won eight consecutive games prior to Sunday’s loss. It has won 16 of its last 19 games, and advanced to the conference tournament championship game as the No. 6 seed. It went 3-1 in the ACC tournament.

“It’s a big step,” said Hughes of hosting a regional. “When you get recognized as one of the top 16 teams in the country, and you host a regional to get you closer to Omaha, that’s what we’ve been building towards and it’s another step in that direction. We’re excited about it.”

In addition to Tech and U.Va., UNC, N.C. State and Florida State will also represent the ACC as regional hosts. The ACC’s five regional host spots are more than any other conference received (the Southeastern Conference has four teams hosting).

Hughes said his team was fortunate to come out of the ACC tournament without any new injuries. He said there won’t be any breaks in the schedule early this week and it’ll be business as usual from a practice and weight lifting standpoint.

“It’s foot on the gas pedal for the rest of the year,” Hughes said. “They know it. They’re into it. These guys are awesome. They’re fired up. It’s no rest. It’s no, ‘let’s feel great because we’re in the NCAA tournament.’ These guys are locked in. We’re ready to accelerate and do what we’ve got to do.”


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