Kentucky baseball: Wildcats start regionals vs. Ball State

Kentucky’s Ryan Waldschmidt throws the ball in after Louisville’s Logan Beard got a hit.April 25, 2023Louisvillekentucky 17
Kentucky’s Ryan Waldschmidt throws the ball in after Louisville’s Logan Beard got a hit.April 25, 2023Louisvillekentucky 17 /

Kentucky baseball begins its path in the NCAA Tournament on Friday, facing off with Ball State in Lexington.

12-seed Kentucky baseball is in the very first group of games on day one of the D-I regionals on Friday. A noon matchup with Ball State is one of 32 games on the full slate today.

The Wildcats finished the season 36-18 (16-14), their most overall and conference wins since the 2017 season, when they finished 43-23 (19-11).

The season had a lot of highs but ended with some lows. Kentucky lost 5 of their last 7 games, including a first-round exit in the SEC Tournament to Alabama. However, the overall season was still good enough to earn one of the 16 regionals, meaning Kentucky gets to play at home for the regionals. On the season, the Cats went 25-6 at Kentucky Proud Park.

How does the D-I baseball tournament work?

There are a lot of moving parts, but once you break it down, it becomes quite simple.

To start, 64 teams are picked and placed into 16 regionals. Each regional has a host team. In this case, Kentucky is the host. Also in their regional are Ball State, West Virginia, and Indiana. Each team will play each other, and the format is double elimination. Once three of the teams all have two losses, the last one standing moves into “Super Regionals.”

That’s just a fancy way of saying the next round of play. The 16 regional winners are split into eight pairings. They will all play a best-of-3 series until only 8 teams remain.

The final 8 teams make up the College World Series. This time, there are two separate pods of 4 teams. Like the regionals, they will all play each other in a double-elimination format.

Finally, only two teams will be left standing. They will play a best-of-3 series to decide a champion!

Get to know Ball State baseball:

Kentucky baseball will start things off against Ball State. The Cardinals finished the season 36-21, going 19-11 in the MAC. They had some good showings against power conference teams, taking down Rutgers, 5-4, and only losing to No. 3 Wake Forest, 7-4. They also split two games with Indiana, who also happens to be in the same pod for regionals.

Once you reach this point in the postseason, every team is a good team. Kentucky baseball may be the favorite to come out of their pod, but Ball State is no joke. The Cardinals won three straight games to win the MAC Tournament, two of them coming at Kent State. They’re a fearless team who won’t back down in Lexington.

Friday’s game is set for Noon and can be watched on the SEC Network.