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Around the Bases: March 21, 2017

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If nothing else for the Louisville baseball team, they continue to be consistent after the first month of the season.

It was another week, another four wins for the Cards as they push their undefeated streak to 19-0. The record is now the hottest in the program’s 100-year history, passing the 17-0 mark set by the 1957 team.

Up next, the Cardinals will make their road trips of the season, starting with tonight’s clash at Cincinnati. U of L will follow that up with a weekend series at NC State.

The Batting Order

1. Cards Reach #1 in Their Fifth Poll

With their undefeated streak in tact, the Cardinals remained #1 in their four polls from last week (Baseball America, USA Today, Perfect Game and NCBWA). Louisville is now tied with Oregon State for the top spot in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, making it their fifth poll the Cards have reached the #1 spot.

D1baseball.com remains the only publication to not have the Cardinals in their top spot. U of L is second in that poll behind 17-1 Oregon State, after top-ranked Florida State went 1-4 during last week’s games.

2. McKay Sensational Yet Again

For the second straight week, Brendan McKay earned ACC Pitcher of the Week Honors. The junior pitched seven shutout innings while striking out 12 in Friday’s 6-0 win over Boston College. McKay currently leads the ACC in both batting average (.481) and ERA (.36).

3. The Streak Update

As noted, the 19-0 start is the hottest in school history now. However, for Louisville to reach the longest winning streak in history, they will need to win all four games against Cincinnati and NC State on the road this week. The longest winning streak in school history is 22 games, set throughout the 1956-1958 seasons by head coach Dr. John Feldman.

The best start in NCAA history, however, belongs to the Texas Longhorns, who started 34-0 in 1977.

4. Home Dominance at Jim Patterson Continues

With 16 straight home wins to open the 2017 season, Louisville has won 34 straight regular season home games and 30th straight weekend series. The Cards have not lost a regular-season home series since 2013, and have yet to lose one at home in the ACC.

5. Weekend Pitching Trio Leading the ACC

The new weekend line-up of McKay, Kade McClure and Nick Bennett has excelled during their 19-0 start. The three currently rank in the top ten each in ERA (.36 for McKay, .86 for Bennett, 1.82 for McClure), and all three are top five in opposing batting average (.136 for Bennett, .155 for McKay, .175 for McClure). Kade McClure has yet to lose since his 2015 defeat at Vanderbilt, while McKay has been intentionally walked as many times at the plate (6) as he has allowed walks at the mound.

Sam Bordner and Lincoln Henzman are Louisville’s top relievers, as each have yet to allow an earned run so far. Henzman also has five of Louisville’s seven saves this season.

6. Logan Taylor Spotlight

The lead-off hitter for Louisville is having a stellar season so far, reaching first in all 19 games this season. Taylor is second in the ACC in on-base percentage behind McKay, and is batting .375 from the leadoff spot with 19 RBIs.

7. On the Road for the First Time

After the weekend series in Florida to open the season, Louisville’s next 16 games played out at home, all of them wins. This week will mark the first time that the Cardinals will go on the road this year, after their road game opener at Eastern Kentucky was postponed due to rain. U of L is 29-14 on the road since joining the ACC, but have winning records against Cincinnati (98-80 all-time) and NC State (6-1).

8. U of L Near the Top in National Categories

Entering this week, U of L is currently second in ERA (1.75) and hits allowed per nine innings (5.5). The Cards also rank in the top ten nationally in strikeouts per nine innings (10.8), on-base percentage (.428), scoring (8.9 runs per game), and fielding percentage (.983).

9. About Cincinnati and NC State

The Bearcats enter tonight’s game with a 9-9 record, but have already secured wins at home over Indiana and ranked Kentucky. U of L has won 12 straight in their rivalry against the Bearcats, including a 6-2 win last year at home. A.J. Bumpass and R.J. Thompson are the only Bearcats batting over .300 (.355 and .323, respectively), while Connor McVey leads the team with 12 RBI.

NC State enters the Louisville series at 12-9, but have won four of their last five including a series win v. Miami at home. The Wolfpack are 1-6 all-time against the Cardinals, and were swept in last year’s series at Louisville. Louisville should face a stellar pitching duo in Joe O’Donnell (3-0, 1.50 ERA) and Austin Staley (1-0, 2.25 ERA, four saves).

How to Watch/Listen:

Tonight’s game at Cincinnati will start at 6 p.m. on 93.9 The Ville. The weekend series at NC State starts at 6:30 on Friday, with coverage on ESPN3 and 93.9 for all three games. Saturday and Sunday’s duels against the Wolfpack start at 1 p.m.

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Posted on March 21, 2017, in Cardinal Athletics, Louisville Athletics, louisville baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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