LOUSIVILLE, Sporting Alert — Kentucky and Louisville will open the Super Regional round of the 2017 NCAA Baseball Tournament on Friday and you can follow the live action on ESPN2 and WatchESPN at Jim Patterson Stadium, starting at 12:00 p.m. ET.
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Louisville, the No. 7 national seeded team, enters the Super Regional in a best-of-three series in good form after going 3-0 in regional play, including topping Xavier in finals.
The Cardinals, who are 50-10 overall on the season, have extended the nation’s longest active streak with their fifth uninterrupted Super Regional appearance overall.
Meanwhile, Kentucky, which finished with a 4-1 record in regional play and beat NC State in the finals, will make its first-ever NCAA Baseball Super Regional.
“I’m really happy for the state of Kentucky,” Wildcats head coach Nick Mingione said ahead of the clash with Louisville.
Mingione believes the battle between these two arch rivals will open up extra coverage for the state.
“I’ve always said, if their team can be good and our team can be good at the same time, that’s really good for our state,” he added.
“When you think about all of the other states and teams that (the national media) could be talking about, a lot of them are talking about our state and our team, that’s really neat.”
In meantime, while Louisville, which features a pair of All-Americans – Brendan McKay, who is hitting .356 with 17 home runs and 56 RBIs and baseman Drew Ellis, who is batting .362 with 17 homers and 55 RBIs — enters this clash with a balanced and dangerous setup.
Kentucky, though, will be pinning its hope on having a strong offense, which is led by Zach Reks, Evan White and Tristan Pompey, who are each batting over .360.
As a team, the Cardinals are averaging 7.4 runs per game, which is 20th in rankings, while sitting third with 2.88 at earned-run average.
“Their offense is balanced,” Mingione said. “They have a really good offense as well.
“Whenever you have a team that does that, you’re going to have to beat them in a bunch of different ways, and they can beat you in a bunch of different ways as well.”
For the Wildcats (43-21), they are 15th in the runs per game ranks, with 7.5, but their 3.81 earned-run average is at 50th.
After Friday’s battle, Louisville and Kentucky will meet again on Saturday at Noon ET and, if necessary, will play in an elimination game on Sunday.
The winner will then advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, next week.
All times in ET
Louisville Super Regional
Game 1: Kentucky vs. Louisville: Friday, June 9, Noon, ESPN 2, WatchESPN
Game 2: Louisville vs. Kentucky: Saturday, June 10, Noon | ESPN, WatchESPN
*if necessary Game 3: Kentucky vs. Louisville: Sunday, June 11, ESPN/ESPN2, WatchESPN