Around the Bases, April 22nd, 2016

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Welcome back to another edition of Around the Bases, where we look at what a spectacular week it was for the Cardinals.

It began on April 12th, when the Cardinals traveled to Lexington and beat rival Kentucky 9-6 for their fifth straight win in the rivalry.

After that, the Cardinals returned home and swept ACC rival Clemson, most notably with a 7-2 win on Saturday in front of a season-high 4,950 fans at Jim Patterson Stadium. Louisville added wins of 15-2 on Friday and a walk-off 9-8 win on Sunday to complete the sweep, their first against a top 25 opponent. On Tuesday, the Cardinals completed their five game stretch against top 25 opponents with a thrilling 7-6 comeback win over rival Kentucky. For more on Tuesday’s wild game and watch post-game interviews from Devin Hairston and Dan McDonnell, visit here.

The Batting Order

  1. Updated Top 25 record: With the five wins from April 12th-April 19th, the Cardinals now have an 8-7 record v. Top 25 teams.
  2. Awards are piling on: This week, a lot of big awards came in and four Cardinals were named to various award watch lists. Devin Hairston, who hit Tuesday’s walk-off single against Kentucky, was named to the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year award watch list yesterday. Louisville pitchers Brendan McKay, Drew Harrington and Kade McClure were named to the National Pitcher of the Year watch list. Corey Ray, Nick Solak and McKay were named on the Golden Spikes Award watch list on Wednesday, and McKay was also named to the John Olerud Award watch list.
  3. Corey Ray coming up big: In the last two games, Corey Ray hit two pivotal home-runs, one that tied the game in the third against Clemson on Sunday, and another that helped Louisville launch a three-inning, six-run rally to beat Kentucky on Tuesday. Ray also hit a walk-off ground-rule double on Sunday to beat the Tigers. 12 of Ray’s 23 career home runs have either tied or given Louisville the lead.
  4. Strength of Schedule and Performance: While the Cardinals are ranked as high as third in the Collegiate Baseball newspaper poll, they are also #2 in the current RPI, and #1 in the current Sagarin ratings.
  5. A Flair for the Dramatic: The Cardinals are coming off of back-to-back walk-off wins against Clemson on Sunday, and Kentucky on Tuesday. The walk-off win on Tuesday was also the second consecutive time the Cardinals beat the Wildcats at home in such fashion in two seasons. The Cardinals defeated the Wildcats 2-1 in 10 innings last year, when Blake Tiberi hit a walk-off single to drive Mike White home for the winning run.
  6. Devin Hairston: Hairston has emerged as one of Louisville’s premiere players this season. Highlighted with a walk-off hit to beat Kentucky on Tuesday, Hairston has a .413 batting average with a home run, four doubles, 10 RBI and 14 runs scored in his last 17 games.
  7. About Boston College: The Eagles enter their series with Louisville with a 19-14 overall record, but 5-11 in the ACC. They are coming off their 12th straight Beanpot title with wins over UMass and Northeastern in the last week, but was swept by Notre Dame last weekend.
  8. Players to Watch (Boston College): Utility player Michael Strem and C Nick Sciortino. Strem and Sciortino are two players on Boston College’s team that are hot right now, and can give Louisville some interesting match-ups this weekend. Since April 10th, Strem has hit a two-out, bases-loaded double that tied the game against Virginia, and eventually the Eagles would win in the 13th inning. Strem also hit 4-for-5 at the plate with a career-high six RBIs against Harvard on April 12th, and the junior leads the team with a .307 batting average. Sciortino, along with Louisville catcher Will Smith, was named to the Johnny Bench Award watch list, given to the best catcher in college baseball. Sciortino is tied for the ACC lead with 11 runners caught stealing, and has only committed three errors in the last two seasons.
  9. How to Watch/Listen: The Louisville/Boston College series will have start times of 2:30 p.m. ET today, 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, and noon on Sunday, with radio coverage on 1450 AM today and 93.9 The Ville tomorrow and on Sunday.

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