Golden Flashes To Take on Kentucky in NCAA Regional Today

Updated 6/1/2012
2012 NCAA Championship (Gary Regional)
No. 3 Kent State (41-17) vs. No. 2 Kentucky (43-16)
U.S. Steel Yard (Gary, Ind.)
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Kent State Game Notes

Today's Pitching Matchup: 
Kent State: #37, LHP, David Starn (10-3, 1.77 ERA)
Kentucky: #34, LHP, Taylor Rodgers (6-4, 4.31 ERA)

Preview courtesy of Kent State Sports Information

The No. 25-ranked Kent State baseball team returns to NCAA Championship Regional action for a fourth straight season, opening its 12th postseason appearance in program history by squaring off with No. 13-ranked Kentucky in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Championship Gary Regional Friday (June 1) at U.S. Steel Yard. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. ET (3 p.m. CT).
 
The Kent State baseball team sat at the Water Street Tavern in downtown Kent surrounded by family, friends and fans of the Blue & Gold, watching with baited breath as seedings and pairings for the 2012 NCAA Championship Regionals with announced the annual Selection Show on ESPNU. Faraway destinations such as Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Calif., and Eugene, Oreg. flashed across the screen.
 
Tension mounted.  Breaths became shorter.  Cuticle was devoured.
 
Then, finally, the announcement that everyone affiliated with the Kent State program had hoped and wished for came: the No. 25-ranked Golden Flashes earned a regional No. 3 seed for the second straight season and headed for the Gary Regional, hosted by Purdue University.
 
Ranked No. 25 in the nation according to Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, the Golden Flashes (41-17) will take on regional  No. 2 seed Kentucky (43-16) – ranked 13th in the country - in first-round play. The Flashes and Wildcats join regional No. 1 seed Purdue - ranked 16th in the nation - and regional No. 4 seed Valparaiso.
 
The NCAA Championship Regionals are a double-elimination event. The winner of Kent State-Kentucky will play the winner of Purdue-Valparaiso while the losers will square off in an elimination game Saturday (June 2.)
 
Kent State earned its fourth straight MAC Tournament title and advanced to the 2012 NCAA Championship Regionals for the fourth year in a row and 12th time in program history with a 3-1 victory over Central Michigan in front of a legion of Blue & Gold faithful fans in the championship game lAst Saturday (May 26) at All Pro Freight Stadium. the No. 1-seeded Golden Flashes ran their winning streak to a nation-long 17 games courtesy of the championship triumph over the No. 3-seeded Chippewas, marking Kent State's 10th MAC Tournament crown in program history. The Flashes have won 32 of their last 39 games – including 21 of their last 23 – and are the only program in MAC history to win back-to-back-to-back-to-back conference tournament crowns.
 
Kent State won its fifth MAC Tournament title under eighth-year head coach and 2012 MAC Coach of the Year Scott Stricklin, who lettered three seasons as a catcher at Kent State, earning All-MAC honors in 1992 and '93. He guided Kent State to a wire-to-wire MAC Regular Season Championship – the squad's fourth regular season title under his watch – before leading the Golden Flashes to a perfect 4-0 finish in the double elimination conference tournament.
 
The Golden Flashes will face the Wildcats for the sixth time ever and seek their first-ever victory over the Big Blue.
 
Kent State is 9-22 all-time in NCAA Championship Regional play. In 2011, Kent State earned a berth in the NCAA Championship Austin Regional and the program's first-ever national tournament regional No. 3 seed. The Flashes tallied an 11-inning 4-2 win over Texas State and followed it with a 7-5 winner's bracket final triumph over regional host and No. 5-ranked Texas to earn the school's second-ever berth in a regional final.


Notes From The Clubhouse
• The No. 25-ranked Kent State baseball team returns to NCAA Championship Regional action for a fourth straight season, opening its 12th postseason appearance in program history by squaring off with No. 13-ranked Kentucky in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Championship Gary Regional Friday (June 1) at U.S. Steel Yard. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. ET (3 p.m. CT). The game can be seen on ESPN3. 

• The NCAA Championship Regionals are a double-elimination event. The winner of Kent State-Kentucky will play the winner of Purdue-Valparaiso while the losers will square off in an elimination game Saturday (June 2.)

• Kent State earned its fourth straight MAC Tournament title and advanced to the 2012 NCAA Championship Regionals for the fourth year in a row and 12th time in program history with a 3-1 victory over Central Michigan.

• The No. 1-seeded Golden Flashes ran their winning streak to a nation-long 17 games courtesy of the championship triumph over the No. 3-seeded Chippewas, marking Kent State's 10th MAC Tournament crown in program history.

• The Flashes have won 32 of their last 39 games ­ including 21 of their last 23 ­ and are the only program in MAC history to win back-to-back-to-back-to-back conference tournament crowns. 

• Kent State won its fifth MAC Tournament title under eighth-year head coach and 2012 MAC Coach of the Year Scott Stricklin, who lettered three seasons as a catcher at Kent State, earning All-MAC honors in 1992 and 1993. He guided Kent State to a wire-to-wire MAC Regular Season Championship ­ the squad’s fourth regular season title under his watch ­ before leading the Golden Flashes to a perfect 4-0 finish in the double elimination conference tournament.

• The Golden Flashes will face the Wildcats for the sixth time ever and seek their first-ever victory over the Big Blue.

• Kent  State is 9-22 all-time in NCAA Tournament play -- including 3-8 under Stricklin. In 2011, Kent State earned a berth in the NCAA Championship Austin Regional and the program¹s first-ever national tournament regional No. 3 seed. The Flashes tallied an 11-inning 4-2 win over Texas State and followed it with a 7-5 winner’s bracket final triumph over regional host and No. 5-ranked Texas to earn the school's second-ever berth in a regional final.

• Kent State sqaures off with Kentucky for the sixth time ever and first time in postseason play. Friday’s contest marks the first time the Golden Flashes have faced the Wildcats under eighth-year head coach Scott Stricklin. 

• Kent State last met Kentucky on Feb. 13, 2004. The Wildcats edged the Flashes, 3-2, courtesy of a walk-off single by center fielder Casey Gilvin, spoiling a strong outing for Kent State right-handed starting pitcher Andy Sonnanstine, who struck out seven over six innings of work.