Sidelines with John Clay

Baseball regionals, seeds, fights and more random links

Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper (34) hits San Francisco Giants' Hunter Strickland in the face after being hit with a pitch in the eighth inning of a baseball game Monday, May 29, 2017, in San Francisco.
Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper (34) hits San Francisco Giants' Hunter Strickland in the face after being hit with a pitch in the eighth inning of a baseball game Monday, May 29, 2017, in San Francisco. Associated Press

Random links for Tuesday:

▪ Kentucky baseball hosts its first NCAA Tournament regional since 2006. Nick Mingione’s club will face Ohio University at noon Friday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. North Carolina State plays Indiana at 7 p.m. The regional is a double-elimination format that continues through the weekend. Ohio captured the MAC Tournament on Sunday with a 7-4 win over Eastern Michigan.

Mingione remembers that 2006 regional, when he was an assistant to then-coach John Cohen. UK lost to Ball State 3-1, then beat Notre Dame 10-4 and Ball State 12-9. The Cats were eliminated 7-4 by College of Charleston.

▪ If Kentucky makes it out of the Lexington Regional, there's a good chance the Cats would continue up the road to play Louisville in a Super Regional. The Cardinals are hosting their own regional this weekend. U of L, a No. 7 national seed, is the No. 1 seed in its regional, followed by Oklahoma, Xavier and Radford.

▪ Click here for the bracket.

▪ Kentucky is No. 11 in the rankings. Louisville is No. 7.

▪ Eric Single of breaks down the bracket.

▪ Louisville coach Dan McDonnell says his team should be greedy heading into the NCAAA Tournament. The Cardinals will host their fifth straight regional and seventh in the past nine years. They are a national seed for the third consecutive year.

▪ This is the fourth bid in the last five years for Indiana, the No. 2 seed in the Lexington region. The Hoosiers finished sixth in the Big 10 this season, but they were just two games behind first-place Nebraska. IU is 33-22-2 overall.

▪ If you missed it, LSU won its 12th SEC Baseball Tournament title over the weekend. The Tigers beat Arkansas 4-2 in Sunday’s final. LSU is the No. 4 national seed for the NCAA Tournament.

▪ Arkansas is happy to stay put, writes Bob Holt of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The Razorbacks are No. 1 in the Fayetteville Regional, which includes No. 2 Missouri State, No. 3 Oklahoma State and No. 4 Oral Roberts.

▪ South Carolina didn’t make the NCAA Tournament field, and Matt Connolly of The State writes that the Gamecocks should never have been on the bubble.

▪ Southern Miss, Mississippi State and South Alabama are all in the same “insane regional,” reports the Biloxi Sun Herald. Southern Miss, which went 48-14 this season, is the No. 1 seed in the Hattiesburg Regional. South Alabama is 39-19. Mississippi State is 36-24.

▪ The great Frank Deford passed away Monday at age 78. You must read Alexander Wolff’s remembrance of the Sports Illustrated legend.

▪ Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post also writes about Deford.

▪ Sportswriter Terry Frei lost his job with the Denver Post after tweeting that he was uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500. Frei deleted the tweet and later apologized but it was too late. The Post announced Monday that Frei is no longer employed by the newspaper.

▪ The SEC spring meetings take place this week down in Destin, Fla. Mike Strange of the Knoxville News-Sentinel lists five things to know about the annual event. First on his list is the new football recruiting calendar, which includes the introduction of the sport’s first early signing period.

▪ Jason Butt of the Macon Telegraph writes that Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason will have more control over the Bulldogs offense in his second year as the UGA starters. He threw for 2,640 yards with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions last season. UK plays Georgia in Athens on Nov. 18.

▪ South Carolina’s women’s basketball team, the national champions, have added a grad transfer from Penn State, reports David Caraviello of The Charleston Post and Courier. Lindsey Spann, who averaged 10.5 points a game last season for Penn State, will be eligible for next season.

▪ If you missed it from last week, UK women’s assistant Lin Dunn has signed on for another season. The Hall of Fame coach came out of retirement last season to help her friend Matthew Mitchell. Now she will return for a second season at UK at a salary of $200,000.

▪ Music City is now Hockey Town. If you’re following the Stanley Cup finals, Pittsburgh defeated Nashville 5-3 in the opener on Monday night. Joe Rexrode of the Tennessean writes that the host Predators dominated the Penguins but couldn’t pull out the win.

▪ The NBA Finals start Thursday night between Golden State and Cleveland, but Warriors coach Steve Kerr says he doubts that he will be ready for a return to the bench. Kerr has been battling debilitating back problems. Mike Brown has coached the Warriors through most of the playoffs. But now, Brown has been battling the flu.

▪ In the world of boxing, er baseball, Bryce Harper mixed it up with the Giants’ Hunter Strickland on Monday. Harper took exception to being hit by a pitch and made a trip to the mound, where both combatants landed blows. But as the late great Warren Zevon might have said, Harper’s hair remained perfect.

▪ The Reds were blasted 17-2 on Monday night in Toronto. Cincinnati starter Lisalvetro Bonilla retired just seven batters, allowing six runs on three hits with five walks. Ouch.

▪ Mike Trout will probably miss 6-8 weeks after undergoing thumb surgery.

▪ Tiger Woods was arrested on suspicion of DUI in Florida, but the real culprit was medications, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Meanwhile, Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says Woods should forget about golf for now.

▪ And Bill Simmons’ site The Ringer is moving to Vox.