Selected as the No. 2 national seed, the Louisville baseball team begins the Road to Omaha by hosting an NCAA Regional at Jim Patterson Stadium for the fourth consecutive season and the sixth time in eight years.
The top-seeded Cardinals (47-12) play No. 4 Western Michigan (22-32) on Friday at 6 p.m., ET, while the Louisville Regional will open with No. 2 Ohio State (43-18-1) and No. 3 Wright State (44-15) Friday at 2 p.m. Every game of the 2016 NCAA Louisville Regional will be televised by ESPN3. Radio coverage for all Louisville baseball games in the postseason will be provided by 93.9 The Ville. Live scoring links for all of the Cardinals’ NCAA Championship games are available at GoCards.com.
Louisville enters the NCAA Championship following a 1-2 showing at last week’s ACC Championship in Durham, N.C., after clinching a second straight ACC Atlantic Division title the previous week. On the mound, the Cardinals have set a school record with 11 shutouts (No. 3 nationally) this season. Entering the week, the pitching staff was ranked second in the nation in hits allowed per nine innings and seventh in ERA. Offensively, the Cardinals were ninth nationally in batting average, 17th in on-base percentage and 18th in scoring.
The No. 7 seeded Broncos went 4-1 in the MAC Tournament, ending in WMU’s first ever
MAC Tournament Championship to go along with the 14 MAC Regular Season Championships
in school history. WMU defeated No. 2 Ball State, No. 3 Miami, No. 6 Central Michigan
and lastly No. 1 Kent State in the championship game. WMU became the lowest seed
in the history of the MAC Tournament to win the Championship. Junior Keegan Akin was
named MAC Tournament MVP and was named to the All-MAC Tournament team with
teammates Jacob Piechota, Grant Miller and Connor Smith.
ON THE MOUND FOR WESTERN MICHIGAN
Junior Keegan Akin has been a beast on the mound for WMU, leading the team in innings
(105.0), ERA (1.46), complete games (2), strikeouts (129), opposing batting average
(.186) and is second in wins (7). He finished eighth in the nation in strikeouts and
13th in ERA to end the regular season. He has now gone 30.2 straight innings without
allowing an earned run after he went 22.2 innings earlier this season without allowing a
run. Sophomore relievers Jake Bartels and Jacob Piechota have been solid as of late, as
Bartels leads the team with six saves and has allowed just four earned runs in his last 17.1
innings while Piechota has allowed just two earned runs in his last 24.2 innings pitched
and leads the team in wins (10). Piechota and Bartels combined to three-hit CMU in the
MAC Tournament Semifinal game.
THE BRONCOS AT THE PLATE
The Broncos offense came alive in the MAC Tournament, scoring 10 or more runs in three
of the five games including 12 against Kent State in the MAC Championship. Freshman
Connor Smith, who was named the MAC Freshman Player of the Year, finished second in
MAC play in batting average at .441. Senior Hunter Prince finished fourth in the MAC in
hitting at .396 and hit a walkoff grand slam to beat Miami in the MAC Tournament, a play
that reached No. 6 on Sportscenter’s Top-10. Junior Grant Miller is batting .330 and leads
the team in RBI (36) while tying for the team lead in triples (2) and is third in doubles (10).
2016 NCAA Baseball Louisville Regional Schedule
Friday, June 3 | (ESPN3)
Game 1: No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Wright State – 2 p.m.
Game 2: No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 4 Western Michigan – 6 p.m.
Saturday, June 4 | (ESPN3)
Game 3: Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser – Noon
Game 4: Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner – 4 p.m.
Sunday, June 5 | (ESPN3)
Game 5: Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Loser – Noon
Game 6: Game 5 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner – 4 p.m.
Monday, June 6 | (ESPN3) – If necessary
Game 7: Game 6 Loser vs. Game 6 Winner – 4 p.m.