The School: Morehead State University
Location: Morehead, Kentucky. Best known as the place where the local county clerk decided that going to jail was better than complying with a Supreme Court ruling. You do you, Kentucky.
The Mascot: The Eagles. A highly original choice. But it might as well be Donnie Tyndall, who coached basketball here from 2006-12 and compiled a 114-84 record with two NCAA Tournament appearances and, shockingly, got the Eagles placed on probation for two years in the process.
Record: 37-24, 19-12 in the Ohio Valley Conference.
How They Got Here: Won the OVC Tournament by winning back to back games against #18 Tennessee Tech on Saturday and Sunday. Otherwise, they probably wouldn’t be here.
Best win: Really, it’s a 4-3 win over Tennessee Tech on Sunday that got them into the NCAA Tournament. But a special mention goes to them for defying the SunSphere and beating Tennessee 4-2 on May 1.
Most embarrassing loss: It’s one thing to lose to a SWAC team, and quite another thing to get shut out by a SWAC team. That’s what Morehead State did against Jackson State in a 4-0 loss on March 14.
Most terrifying batter: Morehead State has a goofy, hitter-friendly home park, which led to an offense averaging 8.5 runs per game. Still, first baseman Trevor Snyder’s 18 homers (while only striking out 33 times all season) is pretty impressive.
But what about the pitching? A 4-seed with a bona fide ace starter can occasionally throw a wrench into a regional, and Morehead State doesn’t appear to have that. That’s a big shock on a staff with a 5.89 ERA (again, goofy hitter’s park.)
Best NCAA Tournament Result: The Eagles have made the NCAA Tournament on three previous occasions — 1977, 1983, and 2015. In 1977 and 2015, they went 0-2 and were quickly eliminated, which makes their best result 1983 by default, in that they actually won a game in the tournament that year (actually, they won two, though they still haven’t made it out of a regional.)
Should Vanderbilt Be Scared? Not really. If the Commodores are facing Morehead State, it will be in an elimination game on Saturday. Morehead State is very much a team that is trying to outscore you while hoping that you don’t notice the pitching, and Vanderbilt is very much set up to clobber a team like that. I’d be more worried about a 4-seed with some good pitching and a bad offense, to be honest.