With four more wins to enter St. Patrick’s Day weekend with a now 15-0 start, the Cardinals have finally reached number one in four of the six major polls. This is the first time the Cardinal Nine have reached the number one spot in their 100-year history.
Up next, the Cardinals look to not only retain their number one ranking, but reach their hottest start in the program’s history. U of L will open the week against Xavier, then have another ACC home stand against division foe Boston College.
1. Cards Top Latest Baseball Polls
As Matt McGavic wrote on Monday, U of L has earned their first number one ranking in the program’s 100-year history. The Cards came in at the top spot on the Perfect Game, Baseball America, USA Today/Coaches Poll. D1baseball.com and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper did not have Louisville as their #1 team; the Cards were one point behind Oregon State in the CBN poll on Monday, while they were ranked fourth in the D1baseball.com poll behind Florida State, Oregon State and TCU.
2. Louisville Leading the Way Across All Sports
U of L, along with Baylor, are the only schools to have both men’s and women’s basketball, along with baseball in the top 15 of the polls. The men’s team enter the NCAA Tournament 10th in both polls, while the women are as high as 12th.
Florida State joins the Cards and Bears with their teams in the top 20 of the polls. The Seminoles baseball team earned a #1 ranking on D1baseball.com. while women’s basketball is also top ten entering the tournament. The men’s team, despite being a three seed in the tournament, is ranked as high as 16th this week.
3. Cardinals on the Verge of Hottest Start in History
If the Cardinals manage to win their next three games against Xavier and Boston College (Fri/Sat), the Cardinals will top their hottest start of all-time (1957, 17-0). The Cardinals already surpassed the 2010 mark of 13-0 after beating Pittsburgh on Friday night, and still remain the only undefeated team in Division I baseball.
4. Brendan McKay Stat Update
After 15 games, McKay is currently averaging .548 at the plate with a 0.50 ERA. McKay’s 15 strikeouts on Friday marked a career high for the junior (and Jim Patterson Stadium record), and placing him in the top three in all-time strikeouts (274) and wins (24). The junior also won NCBWA Player of the Month for his torrid start in February, and also took home ACC Pitcher of the Week honors.
5. Pitching Coming Through for Louisville
In the 15-0 start for Louisville, ten different pitchers have recorded a win to start 2017. Only McKay (3-0), Kade McClure (2-0), Jake Sparger (2-0) and Nick Bennett (2-0) have earned multiple wins during the 15-game winning streak. Friday’s 3-0 win marked the fifth time that the Cardinals have posted a shutout this year, tied for second in the nation behind Auburn (7).
6. Hairston’s Five-RBI Performance Leads Win over Fort Wayne
In Wednesday’s win over Fort Wayne, Devin Hairston netted a career-high five RBI, while hitting 3-of-4 at the plate and also scoring two runs. It was the second time in five games that a Louisville batter drove in five runs; Drew Ellis achieved the same feat in a 20-2 win over Morehead State on March 1st.
7. Cards Leading the Conference (& Nation)
Currently, the Cardinals lead the ACC in batting average (.344), on-base percentage (.437), ERA (1.75), and strikeouts per game (10.81). Nationally, the Cardinals are second in ERA, third in batting average, fourth in on-base percentage, and eighth in strikeout per nine innings.
U of L also has three batters (McKay, Logan Taylor, Drew Ellis) in the top six for batting average, while McKay (0.50) and Kade McClure (2.08) are in the top ten in ERA. McKay is also the only player among power five schools to be in the top five in batting average and ERA, within their conference.
8. Drew Ellis a Rising Star for Louisville
Drew Ellis has emerged as one of the ACC’s top power hitters, ranking in the top five in slugging percentage (.765). The junior from Jeffersonville, IN currently leads the team in doubles (7), and tied for the team lead in home runs (4) and RBI (18). Ellis is also batting .392 with a .765 slugging percentage, second only to McKay in the batting lineup.
9. About Xavier/Boston College:
Xavier enters the game 7-9, 3-3 in their last six games (wins against Charlotte, Georgia and Southern Miss). The Musketeers have no batters hitting above .300 to start the season; Rylan Bannon leads the team with a .281 average and has five doubles and four home runs.
Boston College will enter the weekend series 6-8, but notched a win against top-three Florida State last Friday. The Cards dropped two of three in last year’s road series against the Eagles, who will have a week’s rest after their Tuesday game against Holy Cross was postponed. BC also does not have a batter in their full-time lineup averaging over .300, but Gian Martellini and Mitch Bigras have double-digit RBIs in 2017. Jacob Stevens is undefeated with a 2-0 record and 1.75 ERA, and figures to be in the rotation this weekend against the Cards.
How to Watch/Listen:
Today’s game against Xavier will air on 1450 AM and 96.1 FM at 1 p.m., moved from a noon start. The weekend series against Boston College starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, with first pitch at 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. All three games against the Eagles will air on 93.9 The Ville and on ESPN3.