The Virginia baseball team was selected for the first time as one of 16 regional hosts for the NCAA tournament beginning next weekend.

The Cavaliers (42-13) earned their fourth NCAA bid by finishing second in the ACC in the regular season and posting the program's second 40-win season. The other three teams in their pod will be announced today with the rest of the field of 64.

This is the first time Virginia has hosted a regional, and it will be the Cavaliers' first tournament appearance since 1996.

"This is a credit to the way our players have performed all season long," Coach Brian O'Connor said in a statement.

The Cavaliers were seeded second in the ACC tournament but lost in the first round to Duke, 6-5. They were eliminated with a 6-5 loss to North Carolina State. . . .

Florida State left nothing to chance this time, taking a big early lead and getting solid pitching from Mark Sauls to beat Georgia Tech, 17-5, in the ACC tournament championship game.

The victory completed a remarkable comeback for the Seminoles (42-20), who beat North Carolina on Saturday to make it to the championship round, then beat the Yellow Jackets a few hours later to force yesterday's game in Salem, Va.

* COLLEGE SOFTBALL: Lisa Dodd's RBI double in the top of the 12th inning drove in Caitlin Benyi with the winning run, and defending champion UCLA beat Stanford, 3-1, to advance to the championship game of the NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.

The Bruins (46-9) will play California (53-12) today for the title.

Stephanie Ramos drove in Dodd later in the inning as the Bruins made the title game for the 17th time in 23 years. The Bruins have won 10 national titles.

Earlier in the day, Stanford (49-19) beat Oklahoma, 3-2, to eliminate the Sooners.

Also, LSU's Leslie Klein homered and LaDonia Hughes had a two-run double in the Tigers' 4-1 win over California to force another game between the teams. However, Cal won the late game, 4-1, to advance to the championship as Alex Sutton went 3 for 4 with two RBI and Kelly Anderson scattered four hits.

* CYCLING: Italy's Damiano Cunego won the Giro d'Italia, holding a two-minute lead over his closest opponents at the end of the 20-stage cycling race in Milan.

Countryman Alessandro Petacchi captured the last flat leg to set a postwar Giro record of nine stage wins in one race.

The final stage was little more than a parade for Cunego, who at 22 became one of the youngest winners in the event's 87 editions. Cunego and Petacchi were able to toast with champagne while pedaling in front of TV cameras.

"It's difficult to explain a joy like this," said Cunego, who hugged his parents after crossing the line.

* SOCCER: John Wolyniec scored on a header late in the second half, leading the MetroStars to a 1-0 Major League Soccer victory over the Kansas City Wizards in East Rutherford, N.J.

The victory lifted the MetroStars (3-1-4, 13 points) into a tie for first place with Chicago in MLS's Eastern Conference. Kansas City fell to 3-3-2.

Wolyniec scored in the 72nd minute, on the MetroStars' first official shot on goal. Amado Guevara passed to Eddie Gaven, whose header bounced off the crossbar. Wolyniec headed the rebound past Wizards goalkeeper and former MetroStars player Tony Meola for his third goal of the season. . . .

European Championship co-favorite Italy easily beat African champion Tunisia, 4-0, in an exhibition game, while fellow Euro 2004 finalist and Group C rival Denmark was held to a 2-2 tie by Estonia.

The 2004 European Championship starts June 12, and many teams still have exhibition games to play before heading to Portugal.

In other games, Scotland beat Trinidad and Tobago, 4-1; Wales edged Canada, 1-0; Japan topped Iceland, 3-2, and Jordan held host Algeria to a 1-1 draw. . . .

A bomb exploded outside Monaco's main soccer stadium early yesterday when the building was empty, shattering windows but causing no injuries, a top official said.

The device exploded outside an entrance at Stade Louis II, said Jose Badia, Monaco's government counselor for social affairs and public works. No one claimed responsibility. The bomb, believed to weigh 2 to 41/2 pounds, blew out windows and caused other minor damage.

* RUGBY: The United States defeated Russia, 41-11, to finish in third place in rugby's Super Powers Cup in Tokyo.

Shaun Paga scored a pair of tries for the Americans, who led 23-8 at halftime.

Japan won the event, rallying past Canada, 34-21.

-- From News Services

and Staff Reports

UCLA second baseman Caitlin Benyi scores winning run as the Bruins' softball team charged into national championship game for the 17th time in 23 years.