May 31, 2004
For the third time in the last four years and the fourth time since 1999, the University of Notre Dame and Frank Eck Stadium will play host to one of 16 NCAA baseball regionals. This year’s regional – a four-team, double-elimination format – will run from Friday, June 4, through Sunday, June 6.
Notre Dame (49-10) – ranked as high as 5th in the nation after winning the BIG EAST regular-season and tournament titles – enters the regional as the top-seeded team and will face the fourth-seeded Kent State Golden Flashes (35-25), winners of the Mid-American Conference tournament. Kent State also played in the South Bend Regional in 2002 but did not face the Irish, losing games to South Alabama and Ohio State. The Notre Dame-Kent State game will start at 2:00 p.m. (EST, note that Notre Dame is on the same time as Chicago). Notre Dame and Kent State have not met since April 19-20, 1968, at old Jake Kline Field with the Golden Flashes winning 7-6 and 16-8. The all-time series is tied, 6-6.
The second game of the regional will feature the No. 3 seeded Arizona Wildcats (30-24-1) of the Pac-10 versus the 2nd-seeded University of California, Irvine Anteaters (34-21-1) from the Big West Conference (both teams earned at-large bids). That game will begin at 6:00 p.m. (EST).
On Saturday, June 5, the third game of the regional will be played at 11:00 a.m. with the losers of games 1 and 2 playing an elimination game. Game 4 will be played at 3:00 p.m. between the winners of game 1 and 2. The third game on Saturday, game 5 of the regional, will be played at 7:00 p.m. with the winner of game 3 facing the loser of game 4 in another elimination game.
The regional will be decided on Sunday, June 6, with the winner of game 5 facing the winner of game 6 at 1:00 p.m. Should a seventh game be necessary, the final game will begin at 5:00 p.m.
A potential Notre Dame-Arizona matchup in the tournament would be their third meeting in the last 12 months. The teams met in the opening game of last year’s Fullerton Regional, with the Irish taking a 13-5 decision. On March 12 of this season, Notre Dame won 4-2 versus the Wildcats at the Round Rock (Texas) Classic. Arizona holds a 5-2 edge over Notre Dame in the all-time series. The Irish never have played UC Irvine.
The winner of the South Bend Regional will advance to the super- regional round versus the winner of the regional being played at Palo Alto, Calif., and hosted by Stanford (other teams in that regional include Long Beach State, St. John’s and UNLV). The super regional features a best-of-3 series, June 11-13. The eight super-regional winners then advance to the College World Series, set for May 18-28 at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb.
The Irish posted an 8-1 record versus teams in the 2004 NCAA field: 2-0 vs. Central Florida, 2-1 vs. St. John’s and 1-0 vs. four other teams (Arizona, Florida Atlantic, Texas Tech and Minnesota).
Tickets for the South Bend Regional can be purchased at the Notre Dame Joyce Center Ticket Office or by calling (574) 631-7356 for credit card orders, beginning on Tuesday, June 1. Ticket pricing will be as follows:
* Adult all-session (6-7 games) reserved – $32
* Adult all-session general admission – $24
* Youth/student all-session reserved/GA – $16
* Adult single-game reserved – $12
* Adult single-game GA – $10
* Youth/student single-game reserved/GA – $6
SOUTH BEND REGIONAL (all times are EST- times same as Chicago time)
Friday, June 4Game 1 - 2:00 p.m. Notre Dame (49-10) vs. Kent State (35-25)Game 2 - 6:00 p.m. Arizona (30-24-1) vs. UC Irvine (34-21-1)
Saturday, June 5Game 3 - 11:00 a.m. Loser of game one versus loser of game twoGame 4 - 3:00 p.m. Winner of game one versus winner of game twoGame 5 - 7:00 p.m. Winner of game three versus loser of game four
Sunday, June 6Game 6 - 1:00 p.m. Winner of game four versus winner of game fiveGame 7 - 5:00 p.m. if necessary