Around the Bases: Week Four

Last week, Louisville went 3-1 in their continued homestand, dropping a mid-week game to Xavier. But the Cardinals rebounded in a big way against James Madison, outscoring the Dukes 17-1 in a three-game sweep.

Up next, Louisville will face a good non-conference test against Morehead State, who won last year’s Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. The Cardinals are also starting conference play this weekend, as they face Boston College.

The Polls

Louisville sees no change in the poll, remaining at eighth.

Louisville returns to the top ten in Perfect Game’s Top 25, moving from 11th to tenth.

Louisville remains 12th in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Top 30.

Louisville moves down a spot in the Baseball America Top 25, falling from 12th to 13th.

Louisville moves up one spot, going from 14th to 13th in the NCBWA Top 30.

Pitching is the Story Once Again for Louisville

Another week in the books, and it was headlined once again by Louisville’s superb display at the mound. The Cardinals threw 13+ strikeouts in every game last week, including a season-high 16 on Friday against James Madison.

Once again, Reid Detmers was the star of the show for Louisville. Detmers followed up a seven-inning outing against Brown in the previous week with another gem against James Madison. The sophomore lefty delivered a career-high 14 strikeouts in eight innings, only allowing one hit in the 5-0 shutout loss. The performance earned him his second straight ACC Pitcher of the Week award, as well as a selection for the Golden Spikes Performance of the Week.

Nick Bennett and Bryan Hoeing also had stellar outings as Louisville’s starting pitchers during the weekend. Bennett improved his record to 2-0 with a seven-inning showing, only allowing one earned run and striking out ten James Madison batters. Bryan Hoeing (7.0 innings, three hits, nine strikeouts), along with Bobby Miller (2.0 innings, four strikeouts) combined to shutout the Dukes in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader. Miller also earned the first save of 2019 in his performance.

As a team, Louisville held James Madison to just one earned run on nine hits, holding the Dukes to .099 at the plate (9/91).

They’ve also recorded 10+ strikeouts as a team in nine of their 11 games this season. Their average of 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings is 11th nationally, and their three shutouts this year is tied for third.

Other Notable Stats

Logan Wyatt finished the week 2-for-9 at the plate, but nearly doubled his walk total with nine free passes against Xavier and James Madison. The nine walks brings his total up to 19 on the season, ranking him second nationally behind Texas’ Duke Ellis (21). Wyatt still leads the team in batting average (.375), on-base percentage (.608), and OPS (1.202).

Jake Snider was 4-for-12 on the week, batting .333 with two doubles, three walks and an RBI. Snider’s splits jumped up to .289 batting, .395 slugging, and .413 on-base after last week’s performance.

Danny Oriente also had a stellar outing at the plate, going 5-for-13 with three RBIs. He, along with Wyatt and Lucas Dunn (.317 batting), are Louisville’s only plus-.300 hitters entering this week. Oriente is currently second on the team with a .345 batting average, .459 on-base percentage and .907 OPS.

Tyler Fitzgerald tied a school record with four stolen bases in Friday’s 5-0 win over James Madison. It’s the ninth time a Louisville player has stolen four bases in a game, the most recent coming in 2016 when Corey Ray accomplished the feat against Longwood. Fitzgerald also provided the only run for Louisville in their 1-0 shutout of James Madison during the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, bringing home Lucas Dunn on an RBI sac fly to left field. He is the first Louisville player this year with double-digit RBIs, leading the team with 13.

This Week’s Opponents

It will be a week full of Cardinals v. Eagles at Jim Patterson Stadium. Louisville plays another in-state foe, the Morehead State Eagles, on Wednesday. Then the Cardinals will begin ACC play with a weekend series against Boston College.

Morehead State enters the midweek game with a 9-1 record. Their only loss so far is a 16-11 barnburner with Furman. But among Morehead State’s nine wins this season, none have been higher than 150th in the college baseball RPI.

Boston College will play a midweek game on Wednesday against Kentucky before traveling west to face Louisville. They enter this week with a 6-4 record, holding an opening series sweep over Jackson State and coming off a 2-2 showing last weekend, splitting both games against Evansville and Eastern Kentucky.

Players to Watch (Morehead State):

For as long as I have been covering college baseball (dating back to 2016), Morehead State has had a reputation as one of the top offenses in the country. They’ve consistently been in the top ten nationally in batting average, home runs and scoring.

So far, Morehead State has lived up to their billing in 2019. As of Tuesday, March 5th, the Eagles are fourth nationally in batting average (.338) as well as scoring (10.4 runs per game), and tied for 26th nationally in home runs (12). Their offense has been a big reason as to why they have won two Ohio Valley Conference tournament championships under head coach Mike McGuire, and why they were picked as preseason favorites to win the OVC in 2019.

Hunter Fain is coming off a spectacular two-game series against NJIT, where he averaged .700 at the plate with two RBIs, three runs scored and a double. The weekend raised his hitting splits to among the best in the country: Fain is currently third nationally in batting average (.560), fourth in slugging, (1.120), and also has two doubles and four home runs.

Morehead State also had four players named to the preseason All-OVC team, including Trevor Snyder. Snyder had 18 home runs last year, which ranked him in the top 20 nationally. While he hasn’t had as much success as a power-hitter to start 2019, he has nonetheless been a steady bat in the Eagles’ lineup. He currently ranks third on the team, averaging .342 at the plate with eight RBIs.

Reid Leonard and Connor Pauly also join the Eagles as two more of their six eligible batters hitting over .300 at the plate. Leonard (.302 batting) was a finalist for the Brooks Wallace Award last season, and looks to be one of the favorites for the award this year. Pauly (.326 batting, .465 slugging) returns as a First Team All-OVC player last season, and is currently one of three Morehead State hitters with double-digit RBIs so far.

Players to Watch (Boston College): 

Boston College returns a couple of impact players from last year, bringing in sophomore infielder Brian Dempsey and 2018 All-ACC Third Team outfielder Chris Galland. Dempsey hasn’t been able to match his output at the plate from last year, averaging .244 so far with .341 slugging and 11 RBIs. But Galland is one of BC’s current leading hitters, averaging .318 with .388 slugging.

Freshman Sal Frelick has gotten off to a solid start with Boston College, leading the team in batting average (.436), doubles (four), RBIs (12), and a perfect 11-for-11 on stolen bases. He, along with Galland, Jake Alu (.359/.487 slugging/.395 on-base, ten RBI), and Cody Morrissette (.349/.558/.370), are the other Boston College batters averaging .300.

At the mound, Boston College likely sees their starting trio in Joe Mancini, Mason Pelio, and Matt Gill. All three are averaging under a 3.1 ERA, with Mancini and Gill also holding batters to under .200 at the plate. Senior righty John Witkowski has been terrific as a reliever for the Eagles, with a 2.08 ERA, .98 WHIP, one save, and leads the team with 12 strikeouts.

How to Watch / Listen: 

The midweek game against Morehead State was originally scheduled for March 5th at 3:00 p.m. EDT, but has since been moved to Wednesday, March 6th at 3:00 EDT. Admission is free for this game, with availability also on ACC Network Extra (via WatchESPN app) and on 1450 AM.

The opening ACC series against Boston College begins on Friday at 6:00 EDT. The series is expected to continue on Saturday at 1:00 p.m., with it closing on Sunday at noon. This is the first ticketed series for Louisville baseball this season, with prices starting at $5.

The Louisville – Boston College series can also be seen on WatchESPN, with radio coverage on 93.9 The Ville throughout the weekend (note that as of now, Saturday’s game against the Eagles could change to 1450 AM).

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