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NCAA Baseball Regionals 2014: Columbia Regional Preview - No. 3 seed Old Dominion

The Old Dominion Monarchs are in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 14 years

The Old Dominion Monarchs are the #3 seed in the Columbia Regional this weekend. The Gamecocks and the Monarchs have not played very often, and have never met in the postseason. The Gamecocks hold a 19-4 advantage in the all-time series between the teams.  As is this case with Maryland, there is no guarantee of a meeting between Carolina and Old Dominion, though it is certainly possible.

Old Dominion started the season 8-4 before beginning Conference USA play against Rice. The Monarchs lost two of three to Rice, with the last two games of the series hard-fought, extra inning affairs. Old Dominion's first series win in conference play came against LA Tech and was followed by series wins against Charlotte, FIU, East Carolina, UTSA and eventually Marshall. Old Dominion finished 4th in the Conference USA standings. The Monarchs won three games in the CUSA tournament, but were eliminated in the semifinal by Rice, who would go on to win the championship game.  The Monarchs played several good teams from outside CUSA this season, including Georgia Tech and Kentucky, who both beat the Monarchs. Old Dominion also played Virginia twice and split those games, with a 1-7 loss in early April and an 8-1 win later the same month.

The Monarchs are 36-24 (17-13) and are 36th in the official NCAA RPI rankings. Their batting average is .283, the best of any of the teams in the Columbia Regional. The Monarchs have an on-base percentage of .364 and a slugging percentage of .372. They have several very good hitters spread throughout their lineup, including first baseman Josiah Burney, who leads the team in home runs with six and in RBI with 41. The Monarchs are not overly aggressive on the basepaths, but are a solid 60 of 79 on the year in stolen bases, led by Nick Walker, who is 15 of 16. Old Dominion's pitching has been good all season and they have a 3.43 ERA with opponents hitting .263 against them. At .977, the Monarchs have the best fielding percentage of any team in the regional as well.

The Monarchs are not on SB Nation, but you can learn more about them at their official athletic site and on twitter.