The Louisville baseball team continues its late season run, going 3-1 last week that included an 8-4 win at #15 Vanderbilt. The Cardinals (32-15) also took two of three on the road at Boston College, winning the Friday (6-1) and Saturday games (11-3) before dropping the Sunday finale (2-1).
This week, Louisville prepares for a five-game tour in the next six days. The Cardinals host a pair of weekday games at home against Wright State and Cincinnati, before heading back on the road at Pittsburgh.
Stats and Trends
Adam Wolf was named ACC Pitcher of the Week after his exquisite performance against Boston College on Friday. Wolf pitched eight innings against the Eagles, only allowing three hits and one earned run while striking out ten. It was Wolf’s second straight outing where he pitched eight or more innings, and the third time this season he has done so in 2018. Wolf also ranks fourth in the ACC in ERA (2.26) and WHIP (1.09).
Louisville’s starting pitchers have continued to be their strongest performers all season. Nick Bennett and Bobby Miller both allowed only one run against the Eagles in their starts, each also pitching seven innings in their outings.
Last week, Louisville got a big-time win on the road against Vanderbilt, taking an 8-4 decision over the Commodores. Tyler Fitzgerald went 2-for-3 at the plate (both hits going for doubles), and he also went 3-for-6 in Saturday’s win at Boston College. In his 20 games as Louisville’s leadoff hitter, Fitzgerald has averaged .302 at the plate with seven RBIs and is a perfect 9-for-9 on stolen bases.
Danny Oriente has continued to excel in recent months. He had a 2-for-3 day with two RBIs and a triple against Vanderbilt. In his last 21 games, Oriente has averaged .449 at the plate (31-for-69) with 24 RBIs.
Devin Mann also had a memorable outing in Saturday’s 11-3 win over Boston College, going 4-for-6 with an RBI single in the first inning. Mann is currently fifth in the nation in walks along with teammate Logan Wyatt (47). Wyatt also leads the ACC in doubles (20) and on-base percentage (.484).
NCAA Tournament Projections
The win against Vanderbilt was certainly huge for Louisville’s postseason outlook. The victory last Tuesday moved the Cardinals’ record against ranked opponents to 8-9, and the Cardinals are ranked 41st in the current RPI standings. These factors, along with Louisville’s postseason pedigree in recent years, could go a long way towards getting an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament.
Baseball America’s most recent NCAA Tournament projections has the Cardinals as the third seed in the Bloomington regional, facing host Indiana with Kentucky and MAC’s Kent State also in their pod. The popular projection in recent weeks has had all three of the local teams together in the same pod, whether it’s Indiana or Kentucky hosting it.
Louisville has a couple more opportunities to bolster their resume before the ACC Tournament starts, starting with today’s game against Horizon League standout Wright State. The Cardinals also host Indiana at Jim Patterson Stadium next Tuesday, giving them another chance to add a high-profile win to their resume. Indiana also plays Kentucky tonight in a matchup that will have hosting implications when the NCAA Tournament starts in a few weeks.
If Louisville can get these wins to bolster their resume, it could possibly even breakup the pod and send them out of those regionals against Kentucky and/or Indiana.
Meet the Opponents This Week
If the Wright State Raiders sound familiar to most Louisville baseball fans, it’s because they’ve played a few times in recent years. The Cardinals last played the Raiders in 2016, winning both the regular season meeting and the NCAA Regional final. Wright State (31-14) has been the standard bearer in recent years for the Horizon League, having won the conference tournament in 2015 and 2016. The Raiders have a lot of talent on their roster, led by first basemen Gabe Snyder (.350 batting, 14 doubles, 14 home runs) and JD Orr (.316 batting, .463 on-base percentage, 26 stolen bases).
After that, Louisville caps their weekday doubleheader with a game against Cincinnati (24-21). The Bearcats have won five of their last seven games, including a sweep against Kansas in late April. Kyle Mottice leads the team at the plate with a .309 average, and was a pivotal player in their win over Louisville last season (2-for-5, two RBI).
Louisville then travels on the road to face Pittsburgh (26-19). Pitt, along with Wright State, are ranked in the RPI top 100 as of today, so a series win against Pitt would also mean a lot in terms of Louisville’s seeding and placement. Pitt is 6-4 in their last ten games, and has a 4.21 ERA as a team with upperclassmen Matt Pidich (5-1, 2.85 ERA, 80 strikeouts) and Yaya Chentouf (5-2, 3.00 ERA, seven saves) giving the Panthers some depth there. However, the Panthers average .242 at the plate, second worst in the ACC behind Boston College’s .241.
How to Watch / Listen:
Today’s game against Wright State, as well as its Wednesday matchup against rival Cincinnati, start at 6 p.m. ET. Both games are available on WatchESPN, and from today to May 10th, all tickets for Louisville’s remaining games are half-price at GoCards.com.
The weekend series with Pitt starts Friday at 6 p.m. ET, with Saturday and Sunday’s games set to start at 3 p.m. and 1 p.m. ET. All three games are available on WatchESPN also.