Only one game took place last week, as Louisville’s weekend series against Pitt was canceled due to positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within the Pitt baseball program.
However, Louisville was victorious in their lone game last week. The Cardinals took a 12-5 victory over in-state rival Kentucky, tying the annual series at 1-1 this season.
Louisville has just their weekend series this week, as the Cardinals travel to Clemson to face the Tigers.
Without much activity last week, Louisville didn’t shake up its standing in the Top 25 polls drastically. They did, however, return to consensus top ten status. The Cardinals jumped two spots in both the USA Today and NCBWA polls, going to seventh and ninth, respectively.
They did fall one spot in the Perfect Game and Baseball America polls, but remain a top five team with both publications (fourth and fifth, respectively).
One area to watch in the coming weeks will be Louisville’s RPI ranking. They currently sit at 42nd (as of April 28th), and could use some big series wins to bolster their RPI before the NCAA selects its regional hosting sites on May 10th. Clemson and Duke (who Louisville plays in weekend series prior to that) are both top 60 in the RPI, with Vanderbilt currently sitting third. If Louisville manages to take both series, it’s possible that they could host as a top eight seed. Beating Vanderbilt, however, would sweeten the deal, if not complete it.
- Perfect Game: #4 (#3 last week; -1)
- D1Baseball.com: #7 (no change)
- USA Today Coaches Poll: #7 (#9 last week; +2)
- NCBWA Top 30: #9 (#11 last week; +2)
- Baseball America: #5 (#4 last week; -1)
- Collegiate Baseball Newspaper: #8 (no change)
- RPI: 42nd (as of 4/28/2021)
Stats and Trends
The 12-5 win for Louisville was sparked by the Cardinals going on an 11-0 run in the first four innings. Dalton Rushing (3-for-4) and Alex Binelas (3-for-5) had massive days at the plate, as both drove in a combined seven RBIs for Louisville (Rushing 4, Binelas 3).
Rushing, in particular, has been excelling as of late. The freshman is batting .500 in his last four games (8-for-16) with ten RBIs, two doubles, and has hit a home run in each of the last three games. If Rushing can maintain that momentum heading into the postseason, another strong power hitter would make Louisville’s already impressive offense even more potent.
Binelas has also been playing great baseball in recent weeks. He is 14-for-36 (.389) with three doubles, six home runs, and 20 RBIs in his last eight games. He leads the team in home runs (ten) and RBIs (43) heading into this weekend.
Henry Davis, as has been the case basically all year, has remained a consistent force. Davis went 1-for-4 against Kentucky last Tuesday, and has now recorded a hit in 33 of 34 games played this season. He is averaging .398 batting with 1.184 OPS, eight doubles, eight home runs, and 34 RBIs with 28 walks drawn.
Carter Lohman made his second career start against Kentucky and had a solid performance, pitching two shutout innings with no hits allowed and four strikeouts. Tate Kuehner (1.1 IP) and Adam Elliott (1.2 IP) also had shutouts in their appearances against the Wildcats. Kuehner now has shutouts in his last three appearances out of the bullpen.
While he hasn’t made an appearance on the mound since March 30th, Kaleb Corbett was named to the midseason watch list for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year, one of 65 relief pitchers to be named. Corbett is 1-1 this season with four saves, a 1.04 ERA, .87 WHIP, and allowed just .167 batting.
When Louisville plays its first game since April 20th on Friday, they will be facing a Clemson team that is coming off a sweep of Wake Forest last weekend. The Tigers are 18-18 this season, and have also claimed series wins over NC State, Cincinnati, Boston College, and Virginia Tech.
Clemson is averaging .253 at the plate (11th in the ACC), led by Caden Grice who is averaging .323 himself. Grice was named to the midseason Golden Spikes Award watch list for his efforts, as he also has a 1.008 OPS, six doubles, eight home runs, and a team high 31 RBIs. The freshman also earned NCBWA Hitter of the Week honors in late March, batting .500 (9-for-18), three doubles, one triple, one homer, and 13 RBIs in a four-game stretch against Georgia Southern and Boston College.
James Parker (.297, seven doubles, 25 RBIs) and Dylan Brewer (.206, six doubles, 26 RBIs) both provide some power in the Tigers lineup, each hitting seven home runs so far in 2021. Bryar Hawkins has been steady at the plate with a .310 average, while Jonathan French has 19 RBIs to go with his .263 batting average.
On the mound, Clemson has a 4.67 ERA with a .262 batting average allowed. Mack Anglin and Keyshawn Askew likely have two of the three starting spots this weekend. Anglin is 1-2 with a 3.23 ERA and allowing .217 at the plate, while Askew is 1-1 with a 4.04 ERA and allowing .272 at the plate. Mat Clark (1-1, 2.97 ERA) and Nick Hoffmann (4-0, 4.00 ERA) likely contend for the last weekend starter spot, as both played on Sunday.
Clemson has several reliable arms out of the bullpen that can provide help in a pinch. Geoffrey Gilbert has already made 20 appearances this season, and has a 1.71 ERA with three saves this season. Rasesh Pandya (3.50 ERA) and Nick Clayton (3.51 ERA) each have 10+ appearances this season, and will likely continue that trend against Louisville.
How to Watch / Listen:
Clemson and Louisville begin their series at 6 p.m. ET on Friday, with the series continuing at 3:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, and 2 p.m. ET on Sunday. Friday and Saturday’s games will both air on ACC Network Extra and 1450 AM, with Sunday’s game airing on 93.9 The Ville and on ESPNU.