Welcome back to another edition of Around the Bases, hope you’re wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day and enjoying the better weather around the city of Louisville.
Pitching for the Cards
Another week, another 5-0 stretch for Louisville. The Cardinals began the five games in six days stretch with a sweep of Notre Dame (4-3 in 11 innings on Friday, 8-2 on Saturday and a 1-0 win on Sunday). They also finished with two weekday wins over Xavier on Tuesday (11-1) and a win over Wright State yesterday (9-1).
The wins extend Louisville’s winning streak to ten, marking an undefeated run through Louisville’s 10-game stretch at home. Up next for Louisville will be two big road trips, including a weekend series at #6 Miami.
The Batting Order
- Highlight of the Week: Blink and you may have missed it, but junior outfielder Logan Taylor stole home base to score in yesterday’s win over Wright State. Taylor is the second player in the last year to steal home for the Cardinals (the other being Corey Ray in the walk-off win v. Wake Forest last season), and the sprint earned him a spot on Sportscenter’s Top 10.
— Louisville Baseball (@UofLBaseball) March 17, 2016
- McKay Wheeling and Dealing: In the second-game of last Friday’s double-header versus Notre Dame, Brendan McKay pitched a career-high 13 strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work, the most for a Louisville pitcher since 2003.
- Funkhouser nearing history: Louisville pitcher Kyle Funkhouser is inching closer to career school records, as he now holds the innings pitched record with 311 as of Friday’s game v. Notre Dame. A win and one strikeout is all Funkhouser needs to tie the career school records held by Justin Marks (29 wins, 305 strikeouts).
- A Complete Team: Louisville currently ranks second in the nation with a 1.82 ERA through 17 games, and only St. Bonvenature has a better ERA with 1.15 in 11 games. Louisville also ranks second in the nation in stolen bases (42) and tied for eighth in batting average (.332)
- Nick Solak, Drew Ellis impress: Solak has had a hot stretch as of late, with a walk-off home-run in a Friday win over Notre Dame and now currently leads the team in batting average (.443) while scoring a run in all but three games this season. Freshman Drew Ellis also made the most of his first start in Wednesday’s win v. Wright State, hitting a double with three RBI and two walks.
- About Miami and Purdue: The Miami Hurricanes are ranked #6 in the Baseball America Top 25, and currently 14-3 after a 5-2 win over UCF yesterday. Their only three losses have been twice to #1 Florida and a 14-3 loss on Friday at Virginia Tech. The Hurricanes are coming off of an appearance in last year’s College World Series and were tabbed the favorites in the ACC’s Coastal Division. Purdue is currently 3-10, with wins against Georgia State, East Tennessee State and North Dakota. The Boilermakers will have a weekend series v. Ohio and a Tuesday game at Ball State before finally hosting their home opener against Louisville on Wednesday.
- Players to Watch (Miami, FL): C Zack Collins and closer Bryan Garcia. Collins will likely be one of the best baseball players Louisville will face all season. The All-American candidate is among the nation’s leaders in batting average (.417), RBI (20), walks (21), and will likely play a big role in how many bases Louisville can steal in the weekend. Collins also was among the team leaders in these categories while being named an All-American last year. Garcia is a phenomenal closer with a 0.87 ERA and six saves in nine appearances, including 19 strikeouts while only allowing four hits and walks each.
- Player to Watch (Purdue): CF Kyle Johnson. Johnson has been one of the best hitters in the Big Ten Conference this season. The senior was named to the Big Ten Players to Watch list, and currently sits second on the team in batting average (.346), while leading the team in home runs (4), doubles (4), and multi-hit games (5).
- How to Watch/Listen: On Friday, the first Louisville/Miami (FL) game will be at 7 p.m. on ESPN3. The rest of the series will be aired on ESPNU at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, with radio coverage on 93.9 The Ville. The Purdue game is on the Big Ten Network at 6 p.m. Tuesday, with radio broadcast on 93.9 The Ville as well.