For the very first time in a couple of decades, the hope of playing in the College World Series is alive.
For UC Irvine and UCLA, that dream became a reality as they were one of the 64 teams announced Monday morning to be in the NCAA Baseball Tournament.
And for Long Beach State, that dream must await another year as the Dirtbags were on the outside looking in.
UC Irvine, which won a significant West-record 32 games, could go north to play at the Stanford Regional. The Anteaters (40-16 ) take on Nevada (25-18) at 6 p.m. Friday. Stanford (33-14), seeded fifth overall, faces North Dakota State (41-17) in the other half of the regional.
UCLA, meanwhile, will be headed south to Texas to play in the Lubbock Regional. The Bruins (35-18) will start against North Carolina (27-25) in pm Friday. Host staff and No. 8 seed Texas Tech (36-15) will square off against Army (28-23).
UCLA restricted its regular season by winning its last four games, including a three-game sweep of No. 23 Arizona State in Tempe, to finish fourth in the Pac-12 at 18-12. The convention placed six teams at the championship -- fifth-seeded Pac-12 champion Arizona (39-15), Stanford, 14th-seeded Oregon (37-14), Arizona State (32-30) and Oregon State (34-22).
Long Beach State (28-15) did not get one of the 34 at-large bids despite that a 16-3 run to finish the regular season to finish third in the Big West in 26-14.
Aware they were a bubble team, the Dirtbags were not even listed among the first four groups out. Baylor, Pittsburgh, Georgia and Ball State -- in that order -- will be the first teams to substitute any team that can't play in the championship.
The Big West placed two teams at the tournament, together with second-place UCSB (39-18) shown among the final teams in. The Gauchos will head to Arizona to play with at the Tucson Regional.