Around the Bases: WKU & Clemson
After 20 games, U of L currently sits at 16-4, alternating between wins and losses in its last five games.
The Cardinals started 14-0, becoming the last undefeated team in Division I baseball for the second season in a row. They managed to take a weekend series against North Carolina and split the weekday series against Texas Tech (4-8, 7-4), but lost last weekend’s series at Wake Forest (1-2, 11-6, 3-6). They’ll look to rebound this week with a tune-up game at Western Kentucky, before heading home to start a pivotal weekend series against ranked Clemson.
Stats & Trends: Batting
After 20 games, three Louisville batters are currently averaging above the .300 line; Drew Campbell (.409), Logan Wyatt (.333), and Jake Snider (.300). Wyatt currently leads the team with nine doubles and drawing 22 walks, and Snider is one of the team leaders in stolen bases (9-for-11). Though only making five appearances, freshman Ben Bianco has a perfect on-base percentage (5-for-5).
Devin Mann is near the .300 line with a .299 average, and also leads the team currently with 25 RBIs. Josh Stowers is averaging .268 at the plate with two doubles, triples and home runs each and leads U of L in stolen bases (11-for-13). Led by Stowers and Snider, the Cardinals are currently tied for 20th nationally in stolen bases (35).
Stats & Trends: Pitching
Adam Wolf continues to thrive as Louisville’s Friday starter. Though the team lost in last Friday’s series opener at Wake Forest, he had one of the best outings of his career, striking out 11 batters and allowing one run on six hits.
In recent weeks, Dan McDonnell has went with sophomore Shay Smiddy as the Saturday starter, moving Riley Thompson to the Sunday spot. Smiddy earned a win on March 10th against North Carolina, striking out seven and allowing two runs on three hits in five innings. He also pitched in last Saturday’s win at Wake Forest, striking out five but allowed six runs (three earned) on seven hits in 3.1 innings.
Louisville has lost its last two Sunday games to UNC and Wake Forest, but Thompson managed to get a career high in strikeouts against the Tar Heels (ten). Louisville will need to get more out of its weekend rotation with opponents like Clemson and Florida State in the coming weeks.
Out of the bullpen, freshman Bobby Miller and junior Sam Bordner continue to lead Louisville. Miller already has a 3-0 record, including one against top-ten Texas Tech where he pitched 3.1 innings with five strikeouts and allowed no hits or walks. Sam Bordner already has eight saves in nine appearances this season, and has only allowed a .118 average at the plate.
As a team, U of L is seventh nationally in strikeouts per nine innings (11.0) and 29th in hits per nine innings (7.41).
Meet the Opponents This Week
The Cardinals open this week’s slate with a trip to Bowling Green, KY to face WKU. The Hilltoppers enter today’s game with an even 10-10 record, but have lost three of their last four. Jacob Rhinesmith is at an all-conference pace, leading WKU in batting average (.365), home runs (7), RBI (21) and slugging percentage (.682). Steven Kraft (.349 batting, five doubles, 13 RBI) and Colie Currie (.285 batting, 8-of-9 stolen bases) also return as veterans leading the team.
After that, the Cards return home for a pivotal series against ranked Clemson. Louisville will be looking to bounce back after dropping last weekend’s road series against Wake Forest, and the Tigers (16-5) have lost four straight. Seth Beer (.257 batting, six home runs) leads a team that is tied 11th nationally in home runs (29), with Chris Williams (.321 batting, five doubles, five home runs) also posting high numbers. Clemson is also 41st nationally in ERA, with Jake Higginbotham (3-0, 3.29 ERA) and Jacob Hennessy (1-1, 2.54 ERA) forming a solid weekend lineup for them.
How to Watch / Listen:
Today’s game at WKU starts at 5 p.m., originally moved from yesterday due to the inclement weather.
Friday’s series opener against Clemson will start at 6 p.m. ET, with Saturday and Sunday’s games both set for first pitch at 1 p.m. ET. All three games against the Tigers are available on ESPN3.