On Sunday, the Missouri baseball team learned an NCAA baseball regional tournament would be held in Columbia for the first time since 1965. The announcement washed away any doubts about the team’s postseason chances.
On Monday, with the surprise spoiled, the Tigers discovered the identities of their opponents for the tournament.
Missouri (40-16), the No. 1 seed in the Columbia regional, is scheduled to face No. 4 Kent State (33-24) at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Taylor Stadium. Miami (36-22), the No. 2 seed, will take on No. 3 Louisville (40-20) at 1 p.m. Friday in the opening game of the double-elimination regional. Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said the selection of teams for the regional went as he expected.
“We thought we’d get an ACC school,” he said. “Then we thought we’d get a lower-conference school, which was Kent State. And Louisville is the high-ranked conference team we expected.”
Jamieson said scouting has already begun on Missouri’s opponents.
“We know that Kent State is a good team because they’ve won 16 of their past 17 games,” he said. “Beyond that, we don’t know any specifics about them.”
Missouri is the only team in its regional ranked in the top-25 in each of the three major college baseball polls. Miami, in its NCAA-record 35th consecutive tournament appearance, is ranked 28th in the Collegiate Baseball poll. Jamieson said he’s excited about Miami’s inclusion in the regional.
“Miami is another big name to help us draw fans,” Jamieson said. “And we need a lot of fan support this weekend.”
The regional will serve as a homecoming for two Miami players. Sophomore center fielder Blake Tekotte was a two-time all-state selection when he played at Hickman High School. He is batting .345, fourth best on the Hurricanes.
Catcher Jason Hagerty was a three-time all-state selection and the 2006 Gatorade Missouri Player of the Year at St. John Vianney High School in St. Louis. The true-freshman has played in 34 games this year, starting 23 of them. Jamieson said that Missouri recruited both players, but he was unsure of their reasons for choosing Miami.
Despite Missouri’s lack of familiarity with its opponents, and with perennial-powerhouse Miami included in its bracket, Jamieson said he is optimistic about his team’s chances to advance.
“We’re seeded No. 1 for a reason,” he said.
Games are scheduled for 1 and 6:30 p.m. each day this weekend with a 1 p.m. game Monday if neccesary. The champion of the Columbia regional will advance to one of eight super regionals.
Tickets for all the games are on sale through Thursday at mutigers.com. Starting today and lasting through Thursday, tickets can be ordered in person at the MU Ticket Office at Mizzou Arena, or by phone (1-800-CAT-PAWS or 884-PAWS in Columbia). On Friday, tickets can be purchased only at Taylor Stadium. Tickets range in prices from $7 to $15 for a single game and $28 to $75 for a tournament pass.