Notre Dame baseball back in NCAA Tourney field

Tribune Staff Report
ND Insider

The wait is over.

The Notre Dame baseball team is back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006.

The Irish (36-21) open play Friday at 1 p.m. (EDT) in the four-team Champaign (Ill.) Regional as the No. 2 seed, facing No. 3 Wright State (41-15).

The game can be seen online via ESPN3.

Top seed Illinois (47-8-1) — the 64-team tourney’s No. 6 overall seed — faces No. 4 Ohio (36-19) in the other opening-round game at Champaign on Friday. The regionals use a double-elimination format.

The Irish earned an at-large bid and are one of seven Atlantic Coast Conference teams in the field. Wright State, 1-8 all-time in NCAA Tourney play in four appearances, was the automatic qualifier from the Horizon League.

Note Dame is making its 22nd appearance in tourney play with an all-time record of 41-44. The Irish were just 9-21 in their first run through ACC competition last season, but fashioned a 17-13 record this year and had the third-best record overall in the league standings.

Former ND coach Paul Mainieri, an NCAA Tourney mainstay during his time with the Irish, is also in the field with his LSU squad. The Tigers (48-10) are the top seed in the Baton Rouge Regional and the No. 2 seed overall.

Sixteen regional champs will advance to the Super Regional round. The eight survivors move on to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., starting June 13.

Here's the full bracket:

Notre Dame relief pitcher Sean Guenther and the Irish take on Wright State Friday in their NCAA Tourney opener in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/KARL B DEBLAKER)