It's not rare for a team with a losing record to make March Madness, but in college baseball, a team with 21 more losses than wins will have a chance to win a national championship in one of the most unlikely runs in the sport.
The Tulane baseball team, which started the season with six straight losses and at 1-10, secured a bid into the NCAA Tournament Sunday after defeating No. 12 East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference championship game. The Green Wave, at 19-40 and a .322 winning percentage, won their first AAC conference tournament in school history.
— Tulane Baseball (@GreenWaveBSB) May 28, 2023
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How did Tulane baseball make the NCAA tournament?
Under first-year head coach Jay Uhlman, Tulane struggled throughout the season, which included multiple losing streaks. The Green Wave finished the regular season with losses in six of seven games. With an 8-16 conference record, the team was the seventh seed in the conference tournament, only above eighth-place South Florida.
Tulane played Houston in the first round, a team that swept them less than two weeks ago. The Green Wave defeated Houston in the opening round, and beat Memphis in the second round to advance to the semifinals of the double-elimination tournament. After losing to Houston in the first semifinal game, Tulane bounced back to take down the Cougars in the second game to advance to Sunday's final.
In the final, Tulane faced East Carolina, the conference regular-season champion, and prevailed with an 8-6 win over the Pirates to claim the conference's automatic tournament bid.
The 19-40 Green Wave have one of the lowest winning percentages of any NCAA tournament team in history. As of Saturday, Tulane has an RPI of 164 out of 305 teams.
The team will learn which regional it will play in during the NCAA baseball tournament selection show Monday.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tulane baseball makes NCAA tournament with 19-40 record