Welcome back to another edition of Around the Bases, and this is possibly the biggest week for Louisville baseball all season.
Last weekend was very tumultuous for the Cardinals team. After having the game at Kentucky postponed due to rain, they immediately traveled to Tallahassee to face Florida State. The Cardinals lost the series (7-12 Fri., 7-1 Sat., 5-16 Sun.), making it their second series defeat in the ACC this season. The Cardinals did not lose any series against ACC opponents last season, and the Cardinals dropped to 3-6 against Top 25 opponents on the road in 2016. The Cardinals returned home yesterday and thumped Western Kentucky 14-2, improving to a 20-1 record at home.
Starting today, the Cardinals will have five consecutive games against ranked opponents through Tuesday. Tonight, the Cardinals will travel to Lexington to face rival Kentucky, then return home for a crucial weekend series v. Clemson. On Tuesday, the Cardinals will have a rematch against the Wildcats at Jim Patterson Stadium in their “Red Out” game. Tuesday’s game is the only ticketed Louisville home game, and tickets are still available.
The Batting Order
- A Crushing Defeat: Sunday’s 16-5 loss at Florida State was the most runs that Louisville has allowed since 2012, when the Cardinals lost 16-3 to Arizona in the 2012 NCAA Regional.
- Drew Harrington: One of the main highlights from last weekend’s series at Florida State, Harrington continued to dominate at the mound. Harrington only allowed one run, two hits and four walks while striking out five in Saturday’s win against the Seminoles. The junior is currently 13th in the nation with a 1.22 ERA, and is 7-1 on the season.
- Devin Mann: Since replacing the injured Nick Solak in the lineup, Mann has recorded a hit in nine consecutive games. The freshman from Columbus, IN also has seven doubles and 11 RBIs, along with a .371 batting percentage.
- Series History (WKU and UK): With last night’s win against the Hilltoppers, Louisville tied the overall series against WKU at 64 wins apiece. Kentucky leads the overall series against Louisville 61-38-1, but Louisville has won the last three, including the 2014 NCAA Regional.
- Kade McClure: McClure will get the start tonight at Kentucky. McClure started in last year’s rivalry game with four hits, two runs allowed and three walks while striking out two in the 5-2 win in Lexington.
- Lexington Connections: Four players on Louisville’s roster are from Lexington, including starters Devin Hairston and Logan Taylor. Hairston also has a brother, Dorian, who currently plays for Kentucky.
- About Kentucky and Clemson: Both Kentucky and Clemson are ranked, with the Wildcats and Tigers ranked 18th and 16th in the d1baseball.com Top 25, respectively. Kentucky enters tonight’s game with a 22-9 record, and will have a weekend series at Vanderbilt in between the two games against Louisville. Kentucky has a notable series over then #1-Florida from last month. Clemson enters the weekend with a 24-9 record, coming off a win last night v. Western Carolina after losing a series to Duke last weekend.
- Players to Watch: 1B Gunnar McNeill (UK) and OF Seth Beer (Clemson). McNeill is a former player from FIU who transferred to Kentucky in 2015. The first baseman . Beer came to Clemson ranked as arguably the top outfielder coming out of high school. Since his arrival, he’s been the best power hitter possibly in college baseball, with a whopping .890 slugging percentage and a nation-leading 14 home runs. Beer also has a .425 batting average with 39 RBIs.
- How to Watch / Listen: Tonight’s game at Kentucky will start at 6:30 p.m., with TV coverage on SEC Network+ and radio coverage on 93.9 The Ville. The Clemson weekend series will begin at 6:00 p.m. Friday, with games at 4:00 p.m. Saturday and at 1:00 p.m. Sunday. Friday and Saturday’s games will be on CardsTV, while Sunday will be aired on ESPN3 and all three games will be on 93.9. Tuesday’s home game v. Kentucky will start at 6:00 p.m., with coverage on ESPN3 and 93.9 The Ville.