Around the Bases: May 16, 2017


Breaking news: Louisville baseball continues to be dominant, now standing at 46-6 and again the consensus #2 team in the country.

It was another stellar week for the Cardinals, as #2 Louisville got four big wins over #25 Vanderbilt and #7 Clemson. The victories against the Tigers earned U of L its third straight Atlantic Division title, along with remaining ahead for a possible overall regular-season title.

Up next, U of L will travel up north to face Indiana, before returning home to close the regular season against Florida State.

The Batting Order

1. Half a Millenia for McDonnell

The Friday victory against Clemson earned Dan McDonnell his 500th career win. While McDonnell remains the all-time leader in career wins for U of L, his .718 winning percentage is third in school history, behind A.L. Bass (.727) and Tom King (.750).

2. Going for the Threepeat (& More)

With the 6-4 victory on Saturday, the Cardinals clinched a third straight division title in the Atlantic. This makes Louisville 3-for-3 on division titles since joining the ACC, but they are in play for another accolade. Should Louisville claim two out of three against Florida State this weekend, they will claim their first overall conference championship in the ACC.

3. All We Do is Win, Win, Win

In addition to the 19-0 start this season, U of L is currently riding a 15-game winning streak entering the final week of the regular season. This gives the Cardinals the third and fifth longest winning streaks in 2017, respectively. The 46-6 record also ties the most win in a regular season for Louisville, matching the marks set by the 2010, 2013 and 2016 squads. A 4-0 stretch this weekend would give Louisville its fifth 50-win season under McDonnell, but the first time it occurred before any tournament play.

4. Home Runs for All

Another week, another monster showing of home runs for the Cardinal Nine. Josh Stowers crushed a home run against Vanderbilt, giving the Cardinals an early lead that they would never relinquish. Colby Fitch also had three home runs during the Clemson series, bringing his season total up to 11. He, Drew Ellis and Brendan McKay (both with 15) are the only Cardinal batters in double-figures with home runs, this season.

Drew Ellis (2) and Devin Mann also hit dingers out of the park in the series against #7 Clemson.

5. Postseason Awards Coming

Brendan McKay was named as a semifinalist for the John Olerud Award and Pitcher of the Year, while Devin Hairston was named a semifinalist for the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year award. McKay looks to become the first three-time Olerud Award winner, while Hairston was also a semifinalist for Shortstop of the Year last season.

6. Overcoming Mistakes

Despite the 6-4 win on Sunday against Clemson, it was not met without efficient fielding. U of L committed a season-high five errors, which is the most in a win since 2010.

7. Another Save, Another Win

Sunday also saw pitchers Nick Bennett and Lincoln Henzman continue their winning ways. Bennett matched a career-high with seven strikeouts in 6.1 innings, while Henzman added his 16th save of the season. Henzman’s ninth-inning heroics put him in a tie for third in both single-season and career saves.

8. Devin Mann Heating Up

After having a small slump opening 2017, Devin Mann has emerged to be one of Louisville’s hottest hands at the plate. The Columbus, IN native has reached base in 23 consecutive games, dating back to April 8, 2017 against Wake Forest. The streak is the longest of any Cardinal season, and Mann is batting 27/78 (.346) with four home runs, 19 RBI, and 13 walks drawn out.

9. About Indiana and Florida State:

The Hoosiers (29-19-2) are an RPI top 30 team that has won five straight series up to tonight’s contest, including wins over top Big Ten foes Michigan and Maryland. Matt Lloyd stands to be IU’s biggest threat at the plate; the utility player leads in batting average (.322), doubles (13), and was recognized as a national player of the week in late March. During that stretch, Lloyd led the Hoosiers to a 4-0 mark and hit four home runs in a double-header against Northwestern. Craig Dedelow is also third in the Big Ten with 13 home runs.

Florida State (33-20) was once the top-ranked team in the country, but has fallen on hard times since losing 17-0 to Virginia Tech. The Seminoles are 6-12 against ranked opponents this season, but still managed to pull out a series win at Clemson and take two of three against Florida Gulf Coast. Expect Tyler Holton (7-2) to have a stellar showing; he is FSU’s top ace at the mound with a 2.69 ERA, 98 strikeouts and only allowing a .167 average at the plate.

How to Watch/Listen:

Tonight’s game at Indiana will start at 6:00 p.m., and is available on the Big Ten Network. For radio coverage, you can also listen to the game on 93.9 The Ville.

The weekend series against the Seminoles starts on Thursday and Friday at 6 p.m., with coverage on ESPN3 and 93.9. The regular-season finale takes place on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., available on ESPNU as well as 93.9. All three games at home are free admission to the game.


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