We are in the final stretch of the regular season, as Louisville baseball rolls on into May. Louisville finished last week with a 3-1 record, rallying from an early deficit to take a 5-4 win at home over in-state foe Western Kentucky, then took two of three in their weekend series against Indiana State.
Up next, Louisville (29-14) will be on the road exclusively this week, traveling to Nashville to face rival Vanderbilt, then going up north against Boston College.
Stats & Trends
Entering tonight’s game against the Commodores, only two Louisville batters are hitting above the .300 line: Danny Oriente and Logan Wyatt.
Danny Oriente has been very hot as of late. He carried a team high 14-game hitting streak into last week before seeing it snap in Friday’s 3-2 win over Indiana State. Oriente’s .364 average has provided the Cardinals with a solid hitter in the middle of the order, and secured their DH spot for the most part.
Wyatt has continued to be Louisville’s breakout star and MVP simultaneously, a consistent on-base threat for the Cardinals. Wyatt had a monster outing in Saturday’s 10-6 win against the Sycamores, hitting 2-for-3 with five RBI including a three-run homer in the fifth inning that put the game out of reach. His 18 doubles currently rank him in a tie for tenth nationally, and he also leads the ACC in on-base percentage (.487).
Josh Stowers also had a solid week at the plate. Stowers went 1-for-2 with two RBIs in the win against Western Kentucky, then delivered a walk-off double in the ninth to secure the win on Friday against Indiana State. He followed that up with a 2-for-3 performance on Saturday. Stowers is currently second in the ACC in stolen bases (25) and has reached bases in 26 straight games.
In the pitching department, Louisville has settled into a permanent starting rotation for the weekends. Freshman Bobby Miller has had tremendous outings as their Sunday starter, pitching 8.1 innings and only allowed four hits and one earned run against Virginia. Miller also pitched seven shutout innings against Indiana State, only allowing five hits and striking out six batters. Nick Bennett and Adam Wolf are both having solid seasons of 2.32 and 2.39 ERA, respectively.
Despite quality outings from their starters, U of L’s Sunday losses in recent weeks have seen their bullpen give up ninth inning leads against Virginia and Indiana State. Louisville still leads the ACC in team ERA (3.28) and opposing batting average (.214).
Also of note (since it is May), it’s time to start looking ahead to potential NCAA Tournament draws. With a 29-14 record (7-9 against ranked opponents), the Cardinals should still be in play for an at-large bid in the 2018 tournament. D1baseball.com has the Cardinals projected to head to Lexington to face rivals Kentucky and Indiana, as well as the Atlantic 10’s Saint Louis.
As mentioned, Louisville does lead the ACC in team ERA and opposing batting average. However, their issues have mainly stemmed from their offense and fielding. In conference play, Louisville is averaging .248 at the plate (8th in the conference), and their .965 fielding percentage is the second-worst in the ACC. For Louisville to make another big run in May and June, they’ll need to improve on these, and in particular get a little more out of the top of their order.
Barring a huge rally this month and an ACC Tournament win, the Cardinals are looking at their streak of hosting Regionals & Super Regionals end this season.
Meet the Opponents This Week
Louisville travels to face Vanderbilt tonight at 7 p.m. in their annual Battle of the Barrel. Vanderbilt (25-18) has had an up-and-down season for the most part like Louisville, but they did get a series win against Duke, who has been a consistent top 25 team all season. Also like Louisville, the Commodores have two .300 batters, led by Austin Martin who leads the team in batting average (.349) and stolen bases (18). Vanderbilt also has a solid power hitting duo in Pat DeMarco (.311 batting, .485 slugging) and Ethan Paul (.252, 10 doubles, eight home runs, .484 slugging and team-high 36 RBI). Vanderbilt also has an 18-7 record at home, so this will be a stiff test for a Louisville team that has had issues at times on the road. A win would go a long way for Louisville’s postseason aspirations.
After that, Louisville heads north to face division foe Boston College (15-28). The Eagles have a few hitters above the .300 line like infielder Jake Polamaki (.322 batting, 13 doubles, 30 RBI) and Chris Galland (.329), the latter who leads the ACC in stolen bases. Dan Metzdorf is coming off a solid outing against Notre Dame with eight shutout innings in a 6-0 win over the Irish. But Boston College averages .245 at the plate and allows a 5.27 ERA, both of which are at the very bottom in the ACC.
How to Watch / Listen:
Tonight’s game against Vanderbilt starts at 7 p.m., with coverage on 93.9 The Ville and on the SEC Network.
This weekend’s series against Boston College starts Friday at 6 p.m., with Saturday & Sunday games starting at 4 p.m. ET and noon, respectively. All three games are available on WatchESPN.