Louisville will welcome four familiar foes to Jim Patterson Stadium for an NCAA Regional this weekend.
The Cardinals, the No. 2 national seed, will serve host to regional No. 2 seed Ohio State, No. 3 seed Wright State and No. 4 seed Western Michigan. Louisville will face Western Michigan on Friday evening at 6:00 p.m., with the Buckeyes and Raiders scheduled for a 2:00 p.m. start. All have visited Jim Patterson Stadium in recent years, while Wright State and Ohio State frequent regular season opponents.
Favored to survive the Louisville Regional, the Cardinals would then host a Super Regional, which would likely result in another meeting with rival Vanderbilt. However, first things first. Here's a quick look at the Louisville Regional participants.
WESTERN MICHIGAN is making its first trip to the postseason since 1989, earning an automatic bid as the MAC Tournament Champion. The Raiders (22-32) won the program's first-ever MAC baseball title as the seventh seed. The Broncos visited the Derby City the second week of the 2014 season, dropping two of three to the eventual College World Series bound Cardinals. Then freshman Keegan Akin was the Sunday starter in that series, working four innings to help Western Michigan upset U of L 4-2 in the series finale. Akin, now a junior, currently ranks eighth nationally with a 1.46 ERA.
The Broncos team batting average of .274 checks in at No. 142 nationally, while the team ERA of 5.81 ranks among the nation's highest at No. 242.
Western Michigan has no common opponent with Louisville, but they did drop a pair of early season games to fellow ACC member Georgia Tech.
OHIO STATE (43-18-1) earned an automatic bid after winning the Big Ten Tournament. The Buckeyes and Cardinals have a history of playing each other, including a recent stretch from 2008-2015 where they met every season. The two met twice a year in 2009 and 2010, making ten regular season meetings between the pair in the last eight years, with Louisville winning all ten, including a 2-0 win in Columbus last spring.
The Buckeyes pitching staff has fueled their success in 2016, with the team ERA of 3.09 ranking No. 12 nationally. With just two players in the regular lineup hitting above .300, Ohio State's overall team batting average of .269 checks in at No. 166.
Ohio State has faced five common opponents with the Cardinals, compiling a record of 7-1 against Boston College, Xavier, Cincinnati, Morehead State and Purdue. The Buckeyes went 1-2 against ACC competition.
WRIGHT STATE was last in Patterson Stadium in March, dropping a 9-1 decision to the Cardinals in a mid-week contest, but are 8-6 all-time against U of L. The Raiders (44-15) earned their second consecutive trip to the NCAA postseason by winning the Horizon League tournament.
The Raiders team batting average of .285 checks in at No. 95 nationally, with its 3.47 team ERA proving more formidable at No. 36.
In addition to the earlier meeting with the Cardinals, Wright State has also faced three common opponents. The Raiders went 2-0 against Cincinnati and Xavier, while going 1-2 against NC State.
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 - 6 p.m.