Around the Bases: North Carolina

Louisville rebounded from a weekend sweep at Clemson to gain some huge wins and improve their RPI.

It started on Tuesday with a win over defending national champion Vanderbilt. The Cardinals took a 7-2 win over the Commodores, then took two of three in a weekend series against the Duke Blue Devils.

This weekend, Louisville heads to the road to face North Carolina.


Louisville made a huge jump in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll, climbing up to eighth to return to the top ten in that poll. Louisville also rose in the Baseball America and NCBWA polls, going to 11th and 13th, respectively.

The only poll that had Louisville fall was the Perfect Game Top 25, where the Cardinals fell two spots to 13th.

Louisville’s average rank is 12.5.

Stats & Trends

Alex Binelas had a monster week at the plate, hitting three home runs and averaging .385 at the plate (5-for-13). This continues a torrid stretch that the sophomore has been on over the last 15 games, hitting ten home runs in that span. Binelas is also averaging .339 (20-for-59) with three doubles and 29 RBIs in the last 15 games, and is currently leading the team in both home runs (14) and RBIs (52) (also fourth and second in the ACC in both categories, respectively).

Luke Brown also had an amazing week, batting .533 (8-for-15) against Vanderbilt and Duke. Brown also added two doubles and four RBIs to his stat line, as the junior is now third among qualifying hitters with a .321 batting average. Brown is also tied with Lucas Dunn for the team lead in doubles (ten), as well as tied in triples (three).

In his second midweek start of the season, Carter Lohman delivered a huge performance for the Cardinals. Lohman earned the win with four solid innings, allowing just one earned run on two hits. If he can continue his momentum in a midweek start against USC Upstate, as well as some solid outings from the bullpen in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, Lohman could very well put himself into position for a starter role in 2022.

Tate Kuehner has been one of the strongest bullpen arms for Louisville in the last month. Since April 11th, Kuehner has allowed just two earned runs in 13.1 innings. He has also compiled a 3-1 record with a 1.35 ERA, 15 strikeouts, and allowing just .178 at the plate over that same span. This includes 1.1 shutout innings of work against Vanderbilt, as well as pitching the final 4.2 innings against Duke with just one earned run and six strikeouts.

Starting the first game of the Saturday doubleheader was Luke Seed, who threw 4.1 shutout innings against the Blue Devils. Seed still hasn’t recorded a win or a loss in the 2021 season, but he has been the best among Louisville’s starters with a 2.18 ERA and 1.38 WHIP.

Adam Elliott earned two saves during the week, recording the final out against Vanderbilt, and pitching the final four innings with no earned runs in game two of the Saturday doubleheader against Duke. Elliott is now tied with freshman Kaleb Corbett for the team lead in saves (four).

Lastly, Henry Davis was named as the top-ranked prospect in Keith Law’s recent Big Board for the MLB Draft (Athletic subscription required). Davis has been the most consistent player on Louisville’s roster and perhaps the entire country, batting .389 with 1.182 OPS, nine doubles, 11 home runs, 43 RBIs, ten stolen bases and a 29:18 walk-to-strikeout ratio. Time will tell if the Pirates will actually forego drafting Jack Leiter or Kumar Rocker with the #1 pick, but it would be very hard to see Davis slipping out of the top five in next month’s MLB Draft. If Davis goes number one, he would be the second catcher selected in the last three seasons (Adley Rutschman, 2019).

The Opponent

The Tar Heels will be the third straight weekend opponent that Louisville has faced where they are hovering around the .500 line. UNC heads into the Louisville series with a 21-22 record, their last game a 3-2 loss to UNC-Greensboro. UNC is also 14-16 in conference play with series wins over Virginia, Clemson, Boston College, and Miami (FL) on their resume, and non-conference wins over East Carolina and South Carolina also.

North Carolina Breakdown

UNC is currently tied for third worst in the ACC in batting average (.256), with only two qualifying hitters averaging over .300 for the season. Justice Thompson leads the team with .317 batting and 14 stolen bases, and also has six doubles and home runs each with 19 RBIs. Angel Zarate is averaging .309 at the plate with four doubles and home runs each, also adding two triples and 27 RBIs. Zarate is also averaging .471 (8-for-15) in his last five games, with a double and seven RBIs in that span.

Caleb Roberts and Danny Serretti both provide some pop in the UNC batting order, each leading the team in RBIs with 29. Roberts also leads the team in OPS (.947) among qualified hitters with six doubles and a team-high nine home runs, while Serretti leads the team in doubles (14) with seven home runs.

Austin Love is guaranteed to be a weekend starter, as 12 of his 13 appearances have seen him lead off on the mound for the Tar Heels. Love is 6-4 with a 4.02 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, with 87 strikeouts and allowing just .218 at the plate. Max Alba (2-4, 6.62, 1.42 WHIP) has made nine starts in ten appearances, but hasn’t gone more than two innings in his last five appearances.

Max Carlson started in all seven games played this season, but has not made an appearance since April 11th due to injuries. Shawn Rapp made starts against Miami and Notre Dame, but just made another start against UNC-Greensboro on Tuesday. He could still make an appearance as a bullpen arm, but Rapp is 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA and 1.55 WHIP in 19 appearances (three starts this season).

Gage Gillian has been lights out as a reliever for the Tar Heels, holding a 1.21 ERA with a .75 WHIP and allowing just .169 at the plate in 17 appearances this season. Caden O’Brien (3-1, 3.64 ERA, 15 appearances), Connor Ollio (0-1, 3.80 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 15 appearances), and Chris Joyner (1-1, 3.68 ERA, 1.50 WHIP) are also among the top relievers at UNC’s disposal.

How to Watch / Listen: 

Today’s series opener against UNC starts at 6 p.m., with Saturday and Sunday’s games set to start at 2 p.m. and 11 a.m., respectively. All three games are available on 93.9 The Ville and on ACC Network Extra (via WatchESPN app).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.