LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After claiming the second most wins in the 104-year history of the program, the Kentucky baseball team has earned its sixth all-time NCAA appearance, earning a No. 3 seed in the Ann Arbor, Mich., regional, joining host Michigan, No. 1 seed Arizona and fourth-seeded Eastern Michigan, it was announced on Monday.
Kentucky (42-17) will be making its sixth overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the second in the past three years. The Wildcats last appeared in the NCAA Tournament as a host selection in 2006, finishing second, going 2-2.
“I think in some ways it is rewarding but one reason we are practicing during the selection show, is because I want it to be excepted,” Kentucky fifth-year head coach John Cohen said. “I want our athletic director, our players and our fans in the state to expect us to be in a regional. I don’t want us sitting around hoping, I want that to be the expectation level of the program. That was one of the reasons why I wanted to be on the field working today and not sitting around waiting. It is all about us and our preparation and what we need to do.”
The Wildcats will be joined by Big Ten Champion Michigan (45-12), fourth-seeded Eastern Michigan (25-32) and No. 1 seeded Arizona (38-17). UK will face Michigan in round one on Friday, marking the 17th all-time meeting between the two schools, with the last meeting coming in 2004, a 15-14 UK win in Lexington. Michigan leads the all-time series with UK, 12-3-1.
Eastern Michigan traveled to Lexington for a midweek doubleheader in 2008, with UK posting an 18-5 win and an 8-6 win in the nightcap. Kentucky leads the series with EMU, 16-6, claiming four consecutive wins.
UK has faced Arizona just twice, with both meetings coming in 1991, splitting the two-game series at Arizona. UK got the first game of the two-game series in March of 1991, 5-4, before taking its worst loss of the year in the second game a 24-0 setback.
Game times have yet to be announced.
Kentucky is one of nine Southeastern Conference teams to make the 2008 NCAA Regional’s. The SEC also put nine teams in the tournament in 2004 and 2005.
UK faced 10 teams in the field of 64 in 2008, posting a 16-14 record against NCAA teams.
The winner of the four-team event will advance to a best-of-three NCAA Super Regional that will start eight Friday or Saturday, June 6-7. The Ann Arbor regional winner will match up against the winner of the regional being hosted by the No.1 overall seed Miami (Fla.). The Miami Regional consists of Miami, Missouri, Mississippi and Bethune-Cookman. The eight super regional winners will advance to the College World Series June 14-25 in Omaha, Neb.
Tickets for the regional tournament will go on sale to the general public through the UM Ticket Office Wednesday morning (May 28) at 8 a.m. Single-game tickets range from $6 for general admission to $10 for a chairback seat. All-session passes range from $28 to $56. All tickets must be picked up in person starting Thursday (May 29) at 8:30 a.m. or at the will call window at Ray Fisher Stadium on game days.
Arizona earned an at-large bid to the tournament after posting a 38-17 record and finishing the season with a series victory against No. 3 overall seed Arizona State.
Michigan has played host to NCAA Regional’s on seven previous occasions, most recently in 1986. UM also hosted in 1953, '61, '78, '80, '81 and '83. It will be the 21st time overall the Wolverines have appeared in the NCAA Championship and the fourth straight under head coach Rich Maloney.
Last year the Wolverines defeated top-ranked Vanderbilt twice in Nashville, Tenn., on the way to winning their eighth regional championship. UM lost twice at eventual national champion Oregon State in the super regional.