The Kent State Golden Flashes have drawn Louisville in the first round of the NCAA Baseball Tournament.
KENT, Ohio -- Fresh off Sunday's 3-0 win over the Akron Zips, the Kent State Golden Flashes celebrated their Mid-American Conference Baseball Tournament victory with a watch party of the NCAA Selection Show at the Water Street Tavern Monday.
Moments after the show began, the Golden Flashes (36-21) found out they will play in the Louisville Regional, and take on the host Cardinals (45-15) at Jim Patterson Stadium Friday night. Although the Cardinals are hosting the Regional, they went 2-2 in American Athletic Conference Tournament play over the weekend, including a 10-4 loss to No. 12 Houston Sunday.
"I think it's going to be a great match-up," Kent State coach Jeff Duncan said. "We're familiar with Louisville. We're excited about it. We recruit against them quite a bit, and Kentucky's in there as well and Kansas is in there as well. It'll be a good regional.
"We also know their style. They're very similar to us. They've got a lot of arms, good pitching, so I think it's going to be a low-scoring game. That's fine. If it comes down to timely hits, we've been getting them."
Kent State is no stranger to Louisville, having played there at the beginning of the 2013 regular season, and won the final game of the series, 3-2. But more importantly than wins and losses, the weekend series allowed the Golden Flashes to get familiar with Jim Patterson Stadium.
"The ballpark plays similar to Avon," Duncan said. "It's got turf, and plays about the same, dimension-wise, as Avon's ballpark.
"It is so important that you know the surroundings. A lot of times, you know how the ball's going to play and things like that. We've got a young team, but we've still got some veteran guys that have been around."
The last time Kent State made the NCAA Tournament, they won the Purdue Regional and defeated Oregon in the Super-Regional to advance to the College World Series for the first time in school history.
The Golden Flashes will go up against either the University of Kentucky or Kansas in the second game of the tournament, depending upon the results of Friday's games.
"They've been here before," Duncan said of his players. "They've been in this type of situation, scenario, and let's go get it.
"Talk about a character team. We've had a lot of adversity here, recently. We had two of our every-day guys go down, a shortstop and center fielder. Arguably, the MAC Player of the Year, Alex Miklos, went down with a torn ACL three weeks ago, and we've responded really well. We've stuck together as a team, and they've really done a good job.
"Troy Summers has been outstanding, and then, Zach Beckner, Curtis Olvey, guys like that, who didn't have a whole lot of experience coming into this last month, they've really stepped up and done a great job. I'm excited for them."