LOUISVILLE, KY – For the fourth year in a row, the Louisville Cardinals (50-10) will host an NCAA Super Regional at Jim Patterson Stadium when it faces the Kentucky Wildcats (43-21) in a best-of-three series, with the winner punching a ticket to Omaha.
This will be Louisville’s fifth straight Super Regional appearance; it will be Kentucky’s first in program history. The rivals also split their two weekday games this season; each team won on its home field.
Louisville won its regional last weekend by defeating Radford, Oklahoma and Xavier in consecutive games, avoiding the winner-take-all Monday night game.
Kentucky, on the other hand, needed all four days to win the Lexington Regional. After defeating Ohio on Friday, UK lost to NC State on Saturday, which put the Wildcats in Sunday afternoon’s elimination game against Indiana. UK beat IU, then beat NC State on Sunday and then again on Monday night – after a long rain delay – to win the regional.
On Tuesday, Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell announced that starting pitchers Brendan McKay and Kade McClure will start the first two games of the Super Regional, but who gets the ball in game one has yet to be determined.
Fans of each school remember the basketball rivalry meeting up in the NCAA Tournament in recent years. In 2012, underdog Louisville lost to eventual national champion Kentucky in the Final Four. Two years later, the teams met again in Indianapolis in the Sweet 16. The Wildcats won both games.
But this is different. Louisville has traditionally had a stronger baseball program, it’s on the Cardinals’ home turf, all three games are sold out and there will undoubtedly be pockets of blue around Jim Patterson Stadium.
It is not uncommon for the KFC Yum! Center in downtown Louisville to have a significant number of Kentucky fans when the teams meet on the hardwood; so it is not out of the question to project that Big Blue Nation will come out to support the baseball team at Jim Patterson Stadium as well.
The atmosphere will be absolutely electric, and the committee’s decision to make the Louisville and Kentucky matchup in this Super Regional a possibility did not go unnoticed amongst both fan bases in the Bluegrass State when the bracket was released.
For the No. 7 National Seed Cardinals, the feeling of “unfinished business” has to be on its players’ minds. Louisville failed to win its pool and make the semifinals in the ACC Tournament, and last year, the Cardinals were grand-slam-walked-off at home in the Super Regional by UC Santa Barbara to complete a 2-0 sweep.
McDonnell – in his 11th year leading the Cardinals – is attempting to lead his program to its fourth-ever appearance in the College World Series and its first since 2014.
Louisville Super Regional TV Schedule
Game 1: Friday, June 9 – Noon (ESPN2)
Game 2: Saturday, June 10 – Noon (ESPN)
Game 3 (if necessary): Sunday, June 11 – Noon (ESPN or ESPN2)