Around the Bases: February 22nd, 2017
Recap: Cardinals Dominate Weekend in Florida
Three games, three wins. It was down to business for Louisville, as they swept their opening series in Clearwater, FL. The Cardinals emerged 3-0 with solid wins over defending SWAC champions Alabama State, preseason Big Ten favorite Maryland, and MAC East Division favorite Ball State.
For more information on last weekend’s series in Clearwater, here are some stats and results from the games.
Up Next: The Cardinals will make their 2017 debut at Jim Patterson Stadium with a weekday against in-state foe Eastern Kentucky, and a weekend series against Nebraska-Omaha.
The Batting Order
1. McKay Climbing All-Time Marks in Pitching
With the win on Friday, junior two-way star Brendan McKay moved into a tie for fourth all-time in career wins (tying Jeff Thompson and Brian Bentley with 22). McKay is already third all-time in career strikeouts (254), and will likely enter the top ten in career innings pitched and starts before the season is over.
2. McKay Also Earns National Player of the Week Honors
Additionally, McKay earned yet another honor to his resume. The junior was named as one of the national players of the week by Collegiate Baseball newspaper, hitting .500 on the weekend with two home runs and five RBI. McKay also pitched six shutout innings with nine strikeouts in the win against Alabama State.
3. Hoeing Earns Start Against the Colonels
Sophomore Bryan Hoeing will make his first career start against the Colonels today. Hoeing made his collegiate debut on Friday against Alabama State, pitching three shutout innings in the 7-0 win over the Hornets. With Kade McClure moving to the weekend rotation, Hoeing looks to potentially take over as the weekday starter.
Hoeing was a 32nd round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft and a top-150 player in the state of Indiana, prior to arriving at Louisville.
4. Near Flawless Performance in Florida
While posting a three-game sweep in last weekend’s series, Louisville continued its streak of six games without an error. Additionally, Louisville never trailed during the weekend, and posted ten runs in back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday.
5. McAvene First True Freshman to Start Opening Weekend Since ’07
On Sunday, Michael McAvene earned his first career start in a 10-4 win over Ball State. This marked the first time a Louisville pitcher made an opening weekend start since 2007, as McAvene allowed one run on three hits while striking out four. The decision went to senior Shane Hummel, who threw 1.1 shutout innings after substituting for McAvene.
6. U of L Baseball Finishing Strong
Per Louisville stat wizard Kelly Dickey, Louisville is the only team to finish in the top ten of the coaches poll each of the last four years. Louisville enters this week ranked as high as sixth (Perfect Game and Baseball America polls), and only Collegiate Baseball newspaper has the Cards ranked outside of the top ten.
7. U of L Games on Television
Starting today, 49 of Louisville’s remaining games will be aired on television in some capacity. This weekend’s games will be watchable exclusively on ACC Network Extra (available through ESPN3 or the WatchESPN app). Louisville also has a game scheduled to air on ESPN2 (May 14th at Clemson), ESPNU (May 20th v. Florida State), and the SEC Network (April 18th at Kentucky). All of Louisville’s games are also available on radio, either on 1450 AM or 93.9 The Ville.
8. Can Louisville Match Last Year’s Record at Home?
It should go without saying that the Cardinals had one of the most dominant home records in college baseball last year. Despite two heartbreaking losses in the NCAA Super Regional, Louisville finished with a 36-3 home record, the best since opening the stadium in 2005. The Cardinals are 313-93 all-time at Patterson Stadium.
9. About EKU and Nebraska-Omaha:
The Colonels closed 2016 with a 24-31 record, but did notch key wins over ranked Mississippi State and in-state foe Kentucky. However, the Colonels started 2017 with four straight losses to 2016 College World Series runner-up Arizona. First baseman Ben Fisher had a stellar weekend in Tucson with three doubles, four RBI and a .333 batting average against the Wildcats.
The Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks enters Louisville with a 1-4 record, their lone win an 8-2 decision over UNLV on Sunday. Nebraska-Omaha lost two other games to the Rebels by a combined score of 35-4, and lost to Kansas 11-1 on Tuesday. The Mavericks are led by All-Summit two-way player Ryan Cate, who posted 2-of-4 with four RBI in the win on Sunday, and Sam Palensky, who is hitting .350 on the season with three RBI and a double.
How to Watch/Listen:
Today’s home opener against the Colonels will air on ESPN3 and 1450 AM, with the Cards delivering the first pitch at 3 p.m.
Friday’s series-opener against Nebraska-Omaha starts at 2 p.m., with coverage on ESPN3 and 1450 AM as well. Saturday’s game will start at 1 p.m., and Sunday will begin at noon with both games on ESPN3 and 93.9 The Ville. Admission to all four games is free.