The Wright State baseball team is headed to Champaign, Ill., for the NCAA Regionals and will take on Notre Dame in its opening game on Friday, May 29, at 1 p.m. Eastern at Illinois Field.
Wright State won the Horizon League Tournament title May 23, with a 17-4 win over Milwaukee.
The Raiders (41-15) are making their fifth appearance in the Division I NCAA Regionals and 12th NCAA appearance overall in program history. This year marks the first time that Wright State has been a No. 3 seed in a regional since the format was changed in 1999.
Notre Dame (36-21) was the third seed in last week’s ACC Tournament and went 1-2, defeating Virginia and falling to North Carolina State and Miami (Fla.).
The Fighting Irish and Raiders have met six previous times, all in South Bend, with each team winning three. Notre Dame took the first three meetings (5-2 and 3-0 on May 1, 1982, and 11-8 in the MCC Tournament on May 14, 1995) while Wright State has won the last three (8-6 and 8-5 in winning the 1995 MCC Tournament and 4-2 on March 21, 2006).
The two teams have four common opponents in 2015 in Belmont (both 1-0), Valparaiso (UND 1-0, Wright State 4-1), Toledo (UND 0-1, Wright State 3-0) and Miami (Fla.) (UND 0-1, Wright State 1-2).
Wright State and Notre Dame are joined by regional No. 1 seed Illinois and No. 4 seed Ohio. The Fighting Illini (47-8-1) won their 30th Big Ten title in 2015 and boast the top winning percentage in Division I (.848) and the fewest losses (8). Illinois, which posted the longest winning streak in the country this season (27 games), swept the top three Big Ten individual awards for the first time in school history: David Kerian (Player of the Year), Tyler Jay (Pitcher of the Year) and Dan Hartleb (Coach of the Year).
Ohio (36-19) won the Mid-American Conference tournament title last weekend, its first title since 1997, with a 6-2 victory over Ball State. The Bobcats’ road to the crown included an extra-inning 4-1 thriller over Western Michigan that featured three 11th-inning home runs and the first no-hitter in MAC Championship history thrown by junior Connor Sitz that allowed the Bobcats to eliminate Bowling Green with a 6-0 win and earn a title game berth.
Wright State is 0-1 all-time against Illinois, with the Fighting Illini winning 5-4 on March 19, 2002, in Bradenton, Fla. The two teams have no common opponents this season.
The Raiders, on the other hand, have faced the Bobcats 34 times in school history, with Wright State holding a 17-16-1 edge. The two teams last played each other on March 27, 2012, in Athens, with Wright State coming away with a 7-1 win. The Raiders and Bobcats have six common opponents this season in UIC (Ohio 3-0, Wright State 4-3), Xavier (Ohio 0-1, Wright State 2-0), Youngstown State (Ohio 1-0, Wright State 3-3), Toledo (Ohio 1-2, Wright State 3-0), Dayton (Ohio 0-1, Wright State 1-0) and Miami of OH (Ohio 2-1, Wright State 3-0).
The winner of the Champaign regional will move on to a Super Regional next week against the winner of the Nashville Regional, which consists of Vanderbilt, Radford, Indiana and Lipscomb. The Super Regional is a best two-of-three format with the winner advancing to the eight-team College World Series, scheduled for June 13-24 in Omaha.
In its first Division I regional appearance, Wright State went 1-2 in 1994 in Knoxville, defeating North Carolina State 14-12 before falling to Arizona State 7-4 and North Carolina State 10-6. In 2006 in Corvallis, Ore., the Raiders dropped a 5-3 decision to eventual national champion Oregon State and lost 5-3 to Oregon. In 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas, the Raiders fell 6-3 to TCU and 6-4 in 11 innings to Texas A&M while in 2011 in College Station, Texas, Wright State fell 11-0 to Texas A&M and 13-0 to Arizona.
Champaign Regional schedule (all times Eastern)
Friday, May 29
Game 1: #2 seed Notre Dame (36-21) vs. #3 seed Wright State (41-15), 1 p.m.
Game 2: #1 seed Illinois (47-8-1) vs. #4 seed Ohio (36-19), 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 30
Game 3: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 1 p.m.
Game 4: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 8 p.m.
Sunday, May 31
Game 5: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser, 1 p.m.
Game 6: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 8 p.m.
Monday, June 1
Game 7 (if necessary): Game 6 winner vs. Game 6 loser, 2 p.m.