Welcome back to our weekly edition of Around the Bases, where we cover every nook and cranny of Louisville baseball before the greatest two minutes in sports arrives.
After another road weekend loss at Boston College, Louisville continued to remain dominant at Jim Patterson Stadium. The Cardinals took a 7-0 win over Florida International on Wednesday before sweeping St. John’s with scores of 8-4 and 6-5 in Friday’s doubleheader, and then a 4-0 win on Saturday.
Up next, Louisville will host rival Cincinnati tonight before traveling to Chapel Hill and facing ACC powerhouse North Carolina, hoping to secure their first road series win.
The Batting Order
- Corey Ray Daily Double: In Friday’s first win over St. John’s, Corey Ray hit two home runs in the third and fifth innings. This is the second time a Louisville player has had a multi-home run game (Will Smith hit two in February’s win over EKU).
- Brendan McKay streak ends: In Sunday’s game against St. John’s, McKay was not able to reach base, ending a 16-game hit streak. McKay, though, was able to add another win on Friday, allowing just one run on eight hits, and retains a 28-game streak of reaching base at least once.
- Nick Solak Returns: As mentioned, Solak returned last Wednesday as a pinch hitter against FIU, hitting a double and an RBI groundout in his first two at-bats. Solak then went 4/11 at the plate against St. John’s with a double and an RBI. He remains the only Louisville hitter with a batting average higher than .400.
- Best Single-Season Home Record in School History?: Since opening in 2005, Louisville is 305-91 at Jim Patterson Stadium, with its current best single-season winning percentage in 2013 (34-5, .871 winning percentage). If Louisville wins just two of its final five home games against Cincinnati, NC State and/or Indiana, Louisville will surpass that mark this season. Louisville enters tonight’s home game against Cincinnati with a 28-1 home record.
- Career Day for Kade McClure: McClure has continued to be a steady success as Louisville’s midweek starter, but his performance against FIU on Wednesday was the best of his career with seven shutout innings of work and a career-high seven strikeouts.
- Kyle Funkhouser’s Superb Sunday: In what was one of his best starts on Sunday, Funkhouser delivered a gem with seven shutout innings and nine strikeouts, and hit 96 MPH in his final pitch of the game. Funkhouser added his school-record 31st career win on Sunday and now has a school-record 345 strikeouts in his career.
- About Cincinnati and UNC: The Cincinnati Bearcats enter tonight’s game with a 21-22-1 record, another baseball team with a rare tie that happened two days ago at East Carolina. The Bearcats have notched a win at Coastal Carolina, and currently lead the American standings with a 9-5-1 record. North Carolina is currently 28-15 and ranked #25 in the Perfect Game Top 25. The Tar Heels will have a game tonight against VCU before hosting Louisville this weekend.
- Players to Watch: INF Connor McVey (Cincy) and OF Tyler Ramirez (UNC). The lone .300 hitter on the Bearcats roster, McVey is a five-tool player in the similar mold of Corey Ray. Though McVey is way behind on home runs (Ray’s 13 v. McVey’s 4), McVey leads the team in almost every category, had a 20-game hit streak from February 27th to April 1st, the longest for UC since 2001, and is 23-24 in stolen bases this year. Tyler Ramirez is one of the best power hitters in the entire ACC, second on the team with a .347 batting average but leads UNC in doubles (10), home runs (7) and RBI (39).
- How to Watch/Listen: Tonight’s game against Cincinnati will start at 6 p.m. with coverage on CardsTV and 93.9 The Ville. The weekend series at North Carolina will start at 7 p.m. Friday with radio coverage beginning on 1450 AM and then on 93.9, followed by 1 p.m. starts on Saturday and Sunday. All three games against UNC will be aired on ESPN3, with Saturday’s game also on 1450 AM and Sunday will be aired on 93.9.