Around the Bases: May 22nd
Louisville finished the regular season with a 3-1 record last week. The Cardinals fell short to Indiana 9-5 in extra innings, but rebounded to complete a series sweep of Notre Dame (5-4, 5-0 and 10-7 wins last weekend). The wins extended Louisville’s streak over the Fighting Irish to 16 games in a row.
Up next, the Cardinals begin pool play in the ACC Tournament against #4 Duke and #9 Wake Forest. Louisville (40-16) will be looking to reach their first ever ACC semifinals berth, and win their first conference tournament since 2009.
News & Notes
With postseason play officially started, the ACC released its all-conference teams, and Louisville tied NC State with a league-high seven selections. First baseman Logan Wyatt (.332 batting, 55 walks, 22 doubles) and outfielder Josh Stowers (.335, 11 doubles, seven home runs, 32 stolen bases) earned a spot on the first team, while weekend pitchers Adam Wolf (6-2, 2.33 ERA, 96 strikeouts) and Nick Bennett (7-1, 2.12 ERA) were selected to the second team. Devin Mann and Danny Oriente were on the All-ACC Third Team, with freshman pitcher Bobby Miller also earning a spot there as well as the All-ACC Freshman team. As a team, Louisville baseball has placed at least seven players on the All-ACC roster every season they’ve been in the conference.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals had a lot of stellar performances this weekend against Notre Dame. Nick Bennett matched a career high with eight shutout innings and eight strikeouts, helping them cruise to a 5-0 win. This was Louisville’s first shutout victory since an 11-0 win over Youngstown State on February 23rd. Adam Wolf also had a strong showing on the mound on Thursday, striking out eight and only allowing one run in a 5-4 win over Notre Dame. As a team, Louisville finished the regular season with a conference-leading 3.28 ERA, and third in the ACC in batting average (.289).
Josh Stowers had a stellar finish to the regular season, similar to his late run he had last year. The outfielder hit a pair of home runs in Sunday’s 10-7 win over Notre Dame, driving in a career-high six RBIs and a game-winning three run homer in the eighth to complete the series sweep. Stowers also raised his batting average from .273 on April 21st to .335 at the end of the regular season, which now leads the team and seventh overall in the ACC.
Zach Britton had a walk-off single in the ninth to deliver a 5-4 win over the Irish on Friday, making it their third walk-off win in 2018 and fifth in the last at-bat. Jake Snider had a stellar weekend at the plate against Notre Dame, hitting .500 with an RBI and a double.
With 40 wins on the regular season, Louisville is the only program in the country to reach that plateau in each of their last six seasons.
Currently, Louisville remains projected as the 2-seed in the Minneapolis Regional, facing off against host Minnesota, Washington and Kent State.
Though the Cardinals fell short against Indiana — a win that would’ve helped Louisville’s resume in the long run for the NCAA Tournament — the seeding does present an opportunity for them. If the Cardinals can survive pool play and perhaps make it to the ACC Finals or win the conference tournament, they could possibly host a regional as a #15 or #16 national seed. It might also take a team like East Carolina, UConn or Stetson to lose their conference tournament and fall out of a top-16 national seed to give Louisville a chance, but it is there.
Meet the Opponents:
Of the teams in pool D, Louisville’s only previous opponent was Wake Forest. The Deacons took the series from the Cardinals in mid-March (2-1, 6-11 and 6-3), marking the Cardinals’ first series loss in 2018. Wake Forest made it to the Super Regional round in last year’s NCAA Tournament, but struggled this year to a 25-30 regular season record. They enter the tournament coming off a series win against Virginia, led by Chris Lanzilli (.278 batting, 12 doubles, nine home runs) and Bobby Seymour (.289, 11 doubles, seven home runs).
Duke enters the Pool as the #4 seed and defacto host of the ACC Tournament, with it being held in Durham, NC. The Blue Devils (39-14) are ranked as high as tenth in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll, and have been consistently in the top 10-15 all season. Outfielder Griffin Conine (.280 batting, 13 doubles, 15 home runs, 48 RBI) was one of the best powerhitters in the ACC, earning a spot on the All-ACC second team. Jimmy Herron (.293 batting, 16 doubles, 21-for-22 stolen bases) also earned a spot on the All-ACC Second Team.
The other teams in this year’s ACC Tournament are as follows:
- Pool A: #1 North Carolina, #8 Georgia Tech, #12 Pitt
- Pool B: #2 Clemson, #7 Miami, #11 Notre Dame
- Pool C: #3 NC State, #6 Florida State, #10 Virginia
How to Watch / Listen:
Louisville begins pool play at 11 a.m. tomorrow against Wake Forest. The Cards wrap it up with a Friday game against Duke also at 11 a.m.
Should the Cardinals advance to the semifinals, they will play the winner of Pool A (either North Carolina, Georgia Tech or Pitt) at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The ACC Championship game will take place on Sunday at noon, with the Pool A/Pool D winner facing the winner of the Pool B/Pool C matchup.
The entire ACC Tournament is available on the WatchESPN app.