Kentucky and Indiana are battling tonight with hosting spots and bragging rights on the line. Both teams come into the game after losing important weekend series on the road. This midweek tilt could not be more important in terms of hosting a regional. Before the border war starts at 6 ET, here are five things to know about the game.
Hosting Spots Are On The Line
The BatCats chances at hosting took a big hit this weekend in Knoxville. #21 Kentucky (30-17, 11-13) lost two of three against Tennessee in a must-win series. In order to get back in the hosting race, UK needs to knock off Indiana tonight and win their last two SEC series. The Hoosiers are also a team that has been fighting for the right to host a regional. IU was swept by Minnesota as they dropped out of the top 25 and out of the projected host spots. The winner of tonight’s game will get a boost in the eyes of the selection committee. Whoever loses this game could have to make a trip to the other’s field for a regional in June. There is not a lot of competition around the Midwest for hosting spots, so this could make a world of difference in terms of who goes where next month.
UK Needs A Road Win
The Cats have had not-so-secret struggles away from the Cliff this season. In SEC play, UK has lost eight true road games as their away record has dropped to 9-9. The offense has struggled on the road in conference play and we know the issues the pitching staff has had recently. The good news is that UK has lost only one non-conference game on the road this season. But they are yet to go on the road for a midweek and win in a hostile environment like IU. UK needs to win tonight to prove they can go on the road and get the job done against a team that has lost only four games at home this season.
These Teams Played Twice In 2017
Indiana and UK play one midweek game against each other every year. But after UK beat the Hoosiers 5-2 in the regular season tilt, the teams battled once again in the Lexington Regional. Riley Mahan drove in five runs in the postseason matchup as the Cats ended IU’s season with 14-9 win in the regional. Zack Thompson dominated in both games on the mound as UK ended a three-game losing streak to the Fighting Kyle Schwarbers.
Indiana’s Pitching Staff Is Solid
Much like most teams that UK plays in midweeks, the Hoosiers will use a variety of pitchers tonight. Luckily for IU, they have the arms to get the job done. The Hoosiers have a team ERA of 2.69 and have held opposing batters to a .239 batting average. Cal Kreuger, Matt Llyod, and B.J Sabol are all names to know coming out of the IU bullpen.
The Game Will Be Broadcast Through The Big Ten Network
There won’t be an ESPN broadcast tonight, but with your TV provider, you should be able to watch the game online through the Big Ten Network. First pitch is at 6 ET, so watch online or follow @TreyHuntsmanKSR for updates.