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@Ohio_Baseball Headed To 2017 NCAA Championship Lexington Regional

The Ohio baseball team (31-26) has drawn the 2017 NCAA Championship Lexington Regional as the Mid-American Conference's automatic bid.
May 29, 2017

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ATHENS, Ohio --
The Ohio baseball team (31-26) has drawn the 2017 NCAA Championship Lexington Regional as the Mid-American Conference's automatic bid.

The No. 4 regionally-seeded Bobcats will square off against No. 1 regionally-seeded Kentucky (39-20) on Friday (June 2) at noon ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, Ky. The contest will be nationally televised on ESPNU and broadcast live on ESPN3 and WatchESPN. 'Voice of the Bobcats' Russ Eisenstein will have the call of the action on WOUB 1340 AM and online on OhioBobcats.com via Stretch Internet.

Ohio and Kentucky are joined in the double-elimination regional by No. 2 regionally-seeded Indiana (33-22) and No. 3 regionally-seeded North Carolina State (34-23), who will face off at 7 p.m. ET on Friday.
The 2017 NCAA Championship consists of 16 four-team, double elimination Regionals, held at campus sites across the nation next weekend (June 2-5). The 16 regional host sites will be announced on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET. The 16 Regional champions advance to the NCAA Super Regionals, which will be held at campus sites the following weekend (June 9-12). The eight Super Regional champions punch tickets to Omaha, Neb., and the 2017 NCAA College World Series, which will be held June 17-27/28 at TD Ameritrade Park. The CWS is made up of two four-team, double-elimination brackets. The survivors of the brackets play a best-of-three games national championship series to decide the NCAA champion.

Ohio will be making its 16th NCAA Championship appearance and second in the last three years. The Bobcats are 17-28 (.378) all-time in national postseason play. The Bobcats went 0-2 at the NCAA Championship Champaign Regional in Champaign, Ill., in 2015, falling to No. 6 national seed Illinois, 10-3, and Wright State, 8-3. Ohio earned its lone trip to the NCAA College World Series in 1970, going 2-2. The Bobcats swept through District 4 play, beating Minnesota, 6-4, then topping Southern Illinois twice by scores of 7-0 and 8-5 to punch a ticket to the CWS. At the College World Series, Ohio went 2-2, beating Southern California, 4-1, falling to Texas, 7-2 and defeating Iowa State, 9-6, before being eliminated by Florida State, 2-0.

The Bobcats have never faced Kentucky, Indiana or North Carolina State in NCAA Championship play.

Under the direction of fifth-year head coach Rob Smith, No. 5-seeded Ohio capped an improbable league postseason run by defeating No. 3-seeded Eastern Michigan, 7-4, to clinch the 2017 MAC Championship title on Sunday (May 28) at Sprenger Stadium in Avon, Ohio. Ohio earned its third MAC tournament title (1997, 2015, '17) with the victory. The Bobcats have won eight-straight MAC tournament games dating back to its 4-0 championship run in 2015. Ohio opened 2017 MAC Championship play by beating No. 4-seeded Ball State, 4-3, last Wednesday (May 24). The Bobcats then advanced to the winner's bracket final thanks to a late-night 5-3 win over No. 1-seeded Kent State last Thursday (May 25). Ohio eliminated the Golden Flashes with a 7-2 victory last Saturday (May 27), marking the fourth time in five tries the Bobcats emerged victorious over the MAC regular season champion Golden Flashes in 2017.

The Bobcats placed five players on the 2017 All-MAC Championship Team -- senior outfielder Spencer Ibarra (Fort Collins Colo.), senior infielder Ty Black (Waynesville, Ohio), senior catcher Anthony Mrosla (Coon Rapids, Minn.), redshirt junior designated hitter/right-handed pitcher Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and senior right-handed starting pitcher Tom Colletti (Wheaton, Ill.). Ibarra garnered Most Valuable Player distinction, joining outfielder Bart Leahy (1997) and right-handed pitcher Logan Cozart (2015) as the only players in Ohio's history to earn such honors. Ibarra hit .368 with seven hits, two RBIs and three runs scored over four games. Black collected four hits -- including two doubles and his huge home run. Mrosla hit .400 with four hits -- including a pair of doubles. Klein batted .357 with five hits, three RBIs and four runs scored. He also started on the mound in Thursday night's win over Kent State, striking out four over five innings. Colletti twirled a complete-game three-hitter with a career-high nine strikeouts in Saturday's victory over the Golden Flashes in the bracket final.

Ohio will enter the NCAA Championship as winners of nine of its last 10 games.

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