NCAA (or college) baseball is the sport of baseball that is played at the university and collegiate level, particularly in the United States. The sport is governed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) which controls the rules of play. In contrast to NCAA basketball and football, where the college level plays a significant development role, NCAA baseball’s role as a developer of players is somewhat small; the development of baseball players is largely the work of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) minor league system.
The rules in NCAA baseball are typical of modern American baseball and closely mirror the rules used in the MLB with only a few variations. These variations include the use of aluminum or approved metal composite bats (MLB uses only wooden bats), there is always a designated hitter for the pitcher, in some instances one or both games of a double-header may only last seven innings instead of the typical nine, and a mercy rule is used. An interesting detail about the designated hitter rule is the fact that a player can serve as both the designated hitter and pitch at the same time; also, the player is allowed to retain one position if removed from the other.
Easily the most famous aspect of NCAA baseball is the College World Series. The College World Series is the final event of the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship (NCAA baseball’s postseason) which takes place in June of each year. Eight teams from an original field of 64 reach the World Series by playing through two rounds of double elimination competition: the Regionals and Super Regionals. The eight World Series teams then face each other until only two teams are left. The final two teams then square off in a best-of-three championship series with the victor being named National Champion.