There is much at stake for the Kentucky baseball team in this weekend's NCAA Regional at Lexington's Cliff Hagan Stadium. Beyond the prestige of living up to a #1 seed and the possiblity of advancing to a Super-Regional, Coach John Cohen and his charges are trying to build the foundation of a successful program in one of the nation's most fertile baseball areas.
Kentucky fell into some tough times at the end of the season, dropping their final three games, including two straight in the SEC tournament. It will be imperative for the power-hitting Cats to get the timely hit and not rely on three-run shots a la an American League team. Just as in the MLB playoffs a clutch run or steal can mean the difference in winning or losing, so too must the Cats get good relief pitching -- something that cost them dearly in the SEC tournament -- and a fair amount of luck.
Friday's game against Ball State, who defeated Kent State, 7-4, on Saturday to take the Mid-American Conference Tournament title. The Cardinals posted a 37-20 record this season, and are paced by the bats of Brad Miller (.333, 21 HR, 75 RBIs) and the pitching prowess of Tyler Pritchard (72, 4.55 ERA).
The early matchup features #2 seed College of Charleston against No. 3 seed Notre Dame at 2 p.m. ET.