It was a week of ups and downs for Louisville baseball, as the Cardinals dropped the rivalry game to Kentucky last Tuesday, ending a six-game winning streak against the rivals from I-64. Next, the Cardinals dropped Friday’s series-opener to Duke, only their second loss at home this season. However, U of L bounced back with two wins on the weekend to stay at .500 during Thunder week.
Up next, Louisville begins a five-game, six-day stretch with a road trip to Richmond, as the Cards take on in-state foe EKU. The Cardinals then host NKU at Louisville Slugger Field before returning to Jim Patterson for a weekend tilt with Toledo.
The Batting Order
1. Rankings Update
After returning to a consensus #2 ranking last week, the Cardinals dropped one spot in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll. With the NCAA Tournament less than a month away, Louisville currently stands as a major favorite to land a top eight national seed. The Cards currently hold a 6-3 record against RPI top 30 teams, with Clemson, Florida State and Vanderbilt remaining.
2. Cards Batting at Slugger Field
For the first time since 2003, U of L will be playing at Louisville Slugger Field in downtown Louisville. Tickets are still available to watch the #2 Cardinals host NKU at the home of the Bats on gocards.com.
The Cardinals will also host the ACC Baseball Championship at the stadium next month, before starting NCAA Tournament play.
3. Shutout City
Sunday’s 10-0 win over ACC foe Duke marked the eighth time that the Cardinals have shut out their opponent this season. The Cardinals are currently #1 in the country in that category, and have yet to blow a save opportunity as well.
4. Henzman Saving the Cards Some More
Speaking of saviors, closer Lincoln Henzman is climbing towards the single season record for saves. Saturday’s save marked the 12th time he has rescued the Cardinals, which ranks him fifth in single-season. Nick Burdi currently holds the record with 18, as well as the career mark of 34.
5. Drew Ellis Sending Balls Out
Despite Friday’s loss to Duke, Drew Ellis jacked two home runs out of Jim Patterson Stadium. It’s the first time the slugger has recorded a multi-HR game, and the first since March 31st when Colby Fitch hit for two at Virginia.
Ellis currently leads the team in home runs (9) as well as slugging (.654), and is second on the team (behind Brendan McKay) in batting average.
6. Lowlights for Louisville
There haven’t been many low lights for the second-ranked Cardinals, but Tuesday and Friday’s losses were arguably that for Louisville baseball fans. Tuesday’s loss ended a six-game winning streak against rival Kentucky, and matched a season-high in runs allowed (11).
Friday’s loss against Duke marked the second time the Cardinals have lost at home, more than what they had lost in all of last season.
7. Made for the Rubber Match
One reason why Louisville has been one of the best teams in the country since joining the ACC is their ability to regroup after a loss. The Cardinals are 11-1 in ACC rubber match games, and 26-1 in conference series finales.
8. McKay Projected Top Overall Pick
To the surprise of no one among Louisville faithful, Brendan McKay has been projected to be the number one overall pick to the Minnesota Twins. McKay has also been projected to go third to the San Diego Padres, and his debate about going pro as a pitcher or batter is ongoing.
9. About EKU, NKU and Toledo:
EKU (21-19) has lost their last five games, and 17 of the last 18 against the Cardinals entering tonight’s contest. Despite the record, the Colonels are 18-5 at home and are seventh in the NCAA in team home runs. Ben Fisher is the kingpin for EKU, who is second in the NCAA in home runs (18), tied for fifth in RBI (54), and 12 doubles. The Colonels have excellent power in their lineup; they had two players who had multiple home runs in one game each (Matt Howie on Saturday, Nick Olive on Sunday).
NKU (15-24) will play the Cardinals for the first time since 1985, and has a win over Ohio State last week. Trey Ganns has double digit runs for the Norse and leads the team with 44 RBI. while Jake Richmond is a notable batter with a .308 average and 22 RBI.
Toledo (14-26) will travel to Michigan State before going to face Louisville this weekend. The Rockets had a game won 21-20 against Buffalo a couple of weeks ago, but otherwise hasn’t had a lot of luck in the MAC this season. Ross Achter leads the team with a 3.09 ERA and 47 strikeouts, while Dalton Bollinger stands as the only Rocket with an above .300 average at the plate. AJ Montoya has won conference player of the week for the Rockets.
How to Watch/Listen:
Today’s game against EKU starts at 3 EST, with coverage on 1450 AM and 96.1 FM. Wednesday’s game against NKU starts at 6:00 EST with coverage on 93.9.
The series against Toledo starts at 6:00 on Friday, with a 1:00 start for both Saturday and Sunday. All three games are also available on WatchESPN and free admission to the game.