Author Archives: Justin Krueger
Former Louisville quarterback Kyle Bolin has announced on Twitter that he will transfer to Rutgers University for the 2017 season.
Bolin announced his transfer shortly after Louisville’s spring game a week and a half ago. Texas, Cincinnati, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan were also on the QB’s shortlist, but the former U of L quarterback chose to go to New Jersey to play for Rutgers.
We at CSZ want to wish the best of luck to one of the first athletes we started covering from day one. Go kill it Kyle!
It was a week of ups and downs for Louisville baseball, as the Cardinals dropped the rivalry game to Kentucky last Tuesday, ending a six-game winning streak against the rivals from I-64. Next, the Cardinals dropped Friday’s series-opener to Duke, only their second loss at home this season. However, U of L bounced back with two wins on the weekend to stay at .500 during Thunder week.
Up next, Louisville begins a five-game, six-day stretch with a road trip to Richmond, as the Cards take on in-state foe EKU. The Cardinals then host NKU at Louisville Slugger Field before returning to Jim Patterson for a weekend tilt with Toledo.
It was another week of dominance for Louisville baseball, as the Cards reeled off another 4-0 mark with a sweep of Purdue and their road trip in Atlanta against Georgia Tech. The Cardinals enter this week with an astonishing 31-4 record, and now a full game ahead of Clemson for the ACC Atlantic Division lead.
Up next, the Cardinals look to continue their stretch with a trip down I-64 to face #10 Kentucky, and a weekend matchup against Duke.
U of L quarterback Kyle Bolin has decided to transfer from the school, per reports.
Bolin, who was scheduled to be a fifth year senior at Louisville, announced his transfer just hours after appearing in Saturday’s Spring Game. While Kyle did not play in the spring game, his brother, Clay, earned reps late in the scrimmage and will be on the roster for 2017.
Bolin will graduate in May and is down to Texas, Cincinnati, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan for his choices as a fifth-year senior transfer.
Bolin arrived in 2013 and appeared for Louisville on occasion as a starter and relieving backup. He is most known for coming off the bench to defeat Kentucky in the 2014 edition of the rivalry game, throwing for 381 yards and three touchdowns in the 44-40 instant classic. Bolin started in eight games in his Louisville career, including the 2014 Belk Bowl.
Another week in the books for the Cardinals, who remain the #2 team in five of the six major polls in the country after a 3-1 week against top-20 opponents Kentucky and Wake Forest. Louisville survived a late rally from UK to win their sixth straight game in the rivalry, while Louisville needed a pair of close victories to take the Wake Forest series.
Up next, U of L will host Purdue before taking a road trip to face Georgia Tech.
The Batting Order
1. Rivalry Dominance Continues
With the 5-3 win over UK on Tuesday, the Cardinals have won six straight games against the Wildcats, and have won 13 straight against in-state foes. The Cards have three games remaining against foes from the Bluegrass State; two on the road against Kentucky and EKU, and a matchup against Northern Kentucky at Slugger Field in the next three weeks.
After earning their sixth straight win against rival Kentucky, the Cardinals took two of three at home against #17 Wake Forest. The Cards are now 6-2 against ranked opponents in 2017, and 20-1 at home.
Cards Drop Opener to Deacs 2-1
A two-run home run in the fourth inning from Gavin Sheets gave the Deacons the deciding runs, as #17 Wake Forest upset #2 Louisville 2-1 on Friday.
The loss marked the first time U of L dropped a home game since March 2016 against Virginia. Despite the loss, Brendan McKay tallied 11 strikeouts while allowing five hits and a walk. Wake Forest pitcher Parker Dunshee earned the win for the Deacs after allowing only one run in seven innings, striking out six batters and only walking one in the process.
It was a day where the Louisville batters got cold, and stayed cold, the entire way. A two-out RBI single from Colby Fitch keyed the only run that Louisville had in the game, while Logan Taylor was 2-for-4 at the plate. McKay and Stowers each had an extra-base hit, hitting a double and triple, respectively. Louisville had a chance to tie the game in the ninth with Colin Lyman at third, but Taylor struck out swinging in the final at-bat to close the game.
Stowers Big Day Pushes Louisville Ahead on Saturday
In a critical juncture, Josh Stowers managed to pull through for the Cardinals in the final few innings. Stowers’ three-hit performance led to a comeback victory for Louisville, as the Cards evened the series with a 7-6 decision on Saturday.
Stowers went 3-for-4 at the plate, including the go-ahead RBI single that scored Ryan Summers. The sophomore would be the only Cardinal to have a multihit game on Saturday.
It was a much better day for the Louisville bats, as the Cardinals finished with seven runs in as many hits. U of L jumped to an early 2-0 lead with a two RBI double from McKay, but Wake Forest would lead for most of the game. Logan Harvey would punch a bases-clearing double to left center field, giving Wake a 3-2 advantage after the second.
The Cards would tie it in the fifth with a Logan Taylor RBI groundout, but Wake Forest responded with a run in the sixth and seventh innings. Trailing 5-3 entering the seventh inning stretch, Logan Taylor hit an RBI triple, while Colby Fitch followed with a game-tying RBI single. Stowers and Mann would follow with RBI singles in the eighth inning to put Louisville ahead for good.
Wake Forest came close to thwarting Lincoln Henzman’s save opportunity in the ninth. Jonathan Pryor scored on a wild pitch to close the score to 7-6, but Henzman struck out Aiello to score his ninth save of the season. Jake Sparger earned the win with two shutout innings in the seventh and eighth innings. Starting pitcher Kade McClure struck out ten batters in six innings, but allowing four earned runs on six hits and two walks.
Hairston Does the Deed, Stops Wake Forest Rally
A two-run RBI double from Devin Hairston in the eighth inning proved to be the difference, as the Cards took the rubber match to hold off Wake Forest 7-5 and take the series.
Hairston has continued to provide an astounding level of heroism in big-time moments for Louisville, sans the cape and a bold S on his chest. The junior has had four game-tying or go-ahead at-bats for the Cardinals in 2017, thriving in late game situations. Hairston would finish 3-for-5 with four RBI in another big-time performance for the junior.
Wake Forest would strike first with Bruce Steel’s RBI single in the second, but Drew Ellis would tie the game with one of his own in the following inning.
The sixth inning became the turning point for the Cards, who were able to stretch the inning with critical at-bats in a two-out situation. Drew Ellis and Devin Mann would score runs on past balls from Connor Johnstone and Griffin Roberts, while Devin Hairston punched a two-RBI single that would score Zeke Pinkham and Logan Taylor.
After the Cards rallied to a 5-1 lead after six innings, Steel crushed a two-run home run to left field in the seventh inning, cutting the deficit to 5-3. After an RBI fielder’s choice from John Aiello, Steel offered an RBI sac fly to tie the game at 5-5. Steel would finish 2-for-3, driving in four of the Deacons’ five runs in the game. Ben Breazeale and Aiello also led Wake Forest with two hits each, with Breazeale scoring two doubles in the game.
Pitchers Nick Bennett (UL) and Connor Johnstone (WF) highlighted Sunday’s pitcher duel, with two of the best throwers in the ACC going head-to-head in the rubber match. Bennett’s led the Cards with 6.1 innings of work, only allowing one run while striking out six. Johnstone, who came off a complete game last week and earned ACC Pitcher of the Week honors, was pulled after 5.2 innings and allowing four earned runs. Louisville’s Adam Wolf earned the win with 1.2 innings of relief duty, allowing two earned runs in as many hits, while Sam Bordner earned his first save of 2017 in a perfect ninth inning.
Up Next: #2 Louisville will close their five-game stretch at home with a Tuesday clash against Purdue. First pitch begins at 6 p.m., with free admission to the game.
Last week, the Cardinals continued their momentum by taking three of four games, one against WKU at home and then two of three on the road against Virginia. The Cards currently sit at 24-3, with a five game homestretch coming up (including the anticipated rivalry game against Kentucky).
The Batting Order
1. Brief Recap of the Rivalry
Entering tonight’s game against their in-state rival, the Cards are 40-61-1 against the Wildcats, but U of L has won the last five games in the series. The last three games at Jim Patterson Stadium between UK and Louisville have included a 2014 NCAA Regional victory, as well as walk-off victories for the Cardinals in each of the last two seasons.
2. Cards a Consensus #2 in All Polls
U of L enters this week as the consensus #2 team in the country, only behind consensus #1 Oregon State in all six major polls. The Cardinals supplanted Texas Tech for the #2 spot in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, after the Red Raiders dropped two of three at Oklahoma last weekend.
After taking WKU in an easy 11-1 victory on Tuesday, the Cards traveled to Charlottesville to face #16 Virginia in their first tour against a ranked opponent in 2017. The Cards were able to pull out two of three this weekend, securing their 21st series victory in 24 tries against ACC foes since joining the conference.
Cards Survive Low-Scoring Friday Affair
Colby Fitch hit two home runs, including a crucial two-run blast in the ninth inning, to give the Cardinals a 5-2 win on Friday at Virginia.
The win marked the first time since February 18th that Louisville played, and beat, a ranked team, when the Cardinals pulled out a 10-7 victory over then #22 Maryland.
Fitch led all Cardinals with 2-of-3 batting at the plate, three RBI and two home runs. The two jacks for Fitch marked the first time since June 2016 that a U of L batter was able to hit two over the wall.
Fitch was able to break a scoreless tie in the third inning with a shot over right field. After both teams went back and forth into the eighth inning, Brendan McKay was able to break a 2-2 tie with another home run into right field, while Fitch padded the lead with another shot over the same area.
While Fitch and McKay were the only Cardinal batters to record multiple-hits during the game, Colin Lyman and Ryan Summers also recorded a hit in the game.
Adam Wolf recorded the win after only allowing one hit and run in the seventh inning, striking out . McKay finished his day at the mound with six hits allowed, two walks, and an earned run. The two strikeouts that McKay earned is a season-low for the junior. Lincoln Henzman earned his sixth save of the year by shutting out the Cavaliers in 1.1 innings of work, to close the game.
The Cavaliers managed to tie the game twice; UVA’s Jake McCarthy hit an RBI groundout to score Ernie Clement in the third, while Adam Haseley scored another RBI groundout in the sixth that brought in Nate Eikhoff to score. Noah Murdock had a stellar showing as UVA’s starter at the mound on Friday; Murdock pitched six innings while allowing two runs on four hits, and two walks.
The Cards continued their dominance against in-state foes, pushing their winning streak against Bluegrass State foes to 12 as U of L (22-2) downed Western Kentucky 11-1. U of L has not lost a game against an in-state foe since losing to WKU in 2015, and has won 53 of its last 56 games at home.
As usual, Brendan McKay shined during the game. McKay batted 3-of-4 at the plate with an RBI double in the seventh inning, and two runs scored. Ryan Summers had a stellar day as the nine-hole hitter, batting a flawless 3-for-3 with a run scored. Tyler Fitzgerald and Colin Lyman each scored two hits and an RBI, while Devin Hairston went 2-of-5 at the plate with two runs driven in.
After a school-record 19-0 start to open 2017, the Cards set their sights on the road for their first true road game out of Louisville.
Unfortunately, U of L suffered some roadblocks along the way this week. Louisville would drop their first regular-season weekday game since 2015 with a 6-3 loss at Cincinnati, and then fall 3-1 on Friday at NC State. U of L responded with taking two out of three in Raleigh, ultimately winning the series against the Wolfpack.
Up next, Louisville returns home tonight to play WKU, while returning on the road for a weekend series against Virginia.
The Batting Order
1. Cards Fall Out of #1 Ranking
With going an even 2-2 last week, the Cardinals still maintain an impressive 21-2 record entering tonight’s game against WKU. The Cards only fell one spot in every poll despite the two losses, entering this week as the #2 team in five of the six major polls. Only the Coaches Poll does not have U of L in the runner-up spot, as the Cards sit at third behind consensus #1 Oregon State and Texas Tech.
2. U of L with an Impressive ACC Record
Since joining the ACC, Louisville has won 20 of its 23 series against conference foes, after taking two of three at NC State. All of Louisville’s three series losses have been on the road.
3. Nick Bennett Shining as Sunday Starter
With the series-clinching win on Sunday, freshman Nick Bennett has flourished in the weekend rotation since earning a Friday start against Eastern Michigan. Bennett is currently 3-0 with an ACC-leading .69 ERA, .138 opposing batting average and 25 strikeouts as a freshman. Bennett has assumed the Sunday spot in the pitching rotation since then, and has earned the win in two of his three Sunday appearances.
4. Another Clutch At-Bat for Hairston on Saturday
Saturday’s 7-6 win over NC State needed more late-game heroics from junior Devin Hairston. The junior hit a go-ahead RBI single in the tenth inning to give the Cardinals the deciding run in extra innings, giving Hairston his third game-winning at-bat in the last 50 games. Hairston also scored an RBI sacrifice that helped Louisville pull out a 3-2 win over Eastern Michigan on March 4th, as well as a walk-off against Kentucky last season.
Hairston currently leads the team with 25 RBI and is batting .337 for the season.
5. Cancer Awareness Night Promotion:
With tonight’s game being the home game scheduled for the Cards, U of L is having their cancer awareness night promotion at Jim Patterson Stadium. The first 500 fans in attendance will receiver Cancer Awareness shirts for the game, while also having a chance to win prizes as well as buying game-worn jerseys from previous games.
6. First Ranked ACC Test for Louisville
The Cards will travel to Charlottesville to face Virginia, which will be their first ranked opponent in ACC play (and as a true road series). U of L is currently 1-0 against ranked teams in 2017, beating then #22 Maryland 10-7 on February 18th in a neutral-site game. Since joining the ACC, Louisville is 13-9 against ranked teams away from home.
7. Kentucky Game Tickets
Next week’s game against Kentucky will be one of two games where admission is charged. Fans can buy tickets to the game on April 4th, with $12 tickets for a reserved chairback seat and $8 for a general admission seat in the Berm.
Fans can also buy tickets for U of L’s upcoming game against Northern Kentucky at Louisville Slugger Field on April 26th, as well as the ACC Baseball Championship from May 23-28.
8. U of L Looking to Push In-State Winning Streak
Louisville has won 11 straight against in-state foes, their last win a 20-2 landslide victory against Morehead State. U of L will look to make it 12 against WKU, who is the last team from the Bluegrass State to beat the Cardinals (a 7-3 WKU win at Jim Patterson Stadium in 2015).
9. About Western Kentucky and Virginia:
WKU enters tonight’s game with a 9-16 record, coming off taking two of three on the road against Middle Tennessee State. The Toppers have a stellar one-two power hitting duo in Hunter Wood and Thomas Peter, who lead the team in batting average (.310 and .306, respectively). Wood also has seven doubles and four home runs, while Peter has six doubles and five home runs in 2017.
Virginia, as mentioned, will be Louisville’s first true road test this week. The Cavaliers enter this week ranked as high as 16th in the NCBWA and Coaches Poll, having won four of their last five (the lone loss last Friday in a 19-3 blowout against Duke). UVA reached the College World Series four times since 2010, including a runner-up finish in 2014 and winning it all the following year. UVA was also the only team to beat Louisville at home in the regular season.
Adam Haseley figures to be the main focal point for UVA this weekend, as like McKay, he is a two-way player for the Cavaliers. Haseley is batting .409 (tied for second in the ACC behind McKay) with eight home runs, and is also 4-1 at the mound with a 3.60 ERA and 26 strikeouts. Outfielder Jake McCarthy also leads the ACC in stolen bases, taking 16-of-17 in 2017.
How to Watch/Listen:
Tonight’s game against the Hilltoppers starts at 6 p.m., with radio coverage on 93.9 and on ESPN3 with free admission to the game at Jim Patterson Stadium.
The weekend series against UVA starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, with coverage on ESPN3 and on 93.9 throughout the weekend. Saturday and Sunday will start at 4 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.
After months of speculation, Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell has declared for the NBA Draft, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.
Mitchell declares for the draft after a stellar sophomore season. The first-team All-ACC player averaged 15.6 PPG, 2.1 steals per game and shot 35% from three point land.
Although Mitchell declared for the draft, Mitchell is not signing with an agent yet. This opens the door for Mitchell to return for his junior season, if he desires. The new NBA Draft rules allow prospective draftees to enter the combine and get an evaluation, prior to the withdrawal deadline on May 24th.
Sophomore Deng Adel and junior Jaylen Johnson are also going to declare for the NBA Draft but not hire an agent, like Mitchell. Adel averaged 12.1 PPG and 4.5 rebounds per game as a small forward, while Johnson averaged eight points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
Spring football is underway in Louisville, as Bobby Petrino looks to return with Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson and a bevvy of studs. A new defensive coordinator, depth at skill positions and offensive line play will headline the top stories of U of L’s spring football in 2017. Louisville will also have open practice for fans on March 24th, March 28th and April 4th, with the Spring Game set for April 15th.
If nothing else for the Louisville baseball team, they continue to be consistent after the first month of the season.
It was another week, another four wins for the Cards as they push their undefeated streak to 19-0. The record is now the hottest in the program’s 100-year history, passing the 17-0 mark set by the 1957 team.
Up next, the Cardinals will make their road trips of the season, starting with tonight’s clash at Cincinnati. U of L will follow that up with a weekend series at NC State.
With four more wins to enter St. Patrick’s Day weekend with a now 15-0 start, the Cardinals have finally reached number one in four of the six major polls. This is the first time the Cardinal Nine have reached the number one spot in their 100-year history.
Up next, the Cardinals look to not only retain their number one ranking, but reach their hottest start in the program’s history. U of L will open the week against Xavier, then have another ACC home stand against division foe Boston College.
1. Cards Top Latest Baseball Polls
As Matt McGavic wrote on Monday, U of L has earned their first number one ranking in the program’s 100-year history. The Cards came in at the top spot on the Perfect Game, Baseball America, USA Today/Coaches Poll. D1baseball.com and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper did not have Louisville as their #1 team; the Cards were one point behind Oregon State in the CBN poll on Monday, while they were ranked fourth in the D1baseball.com poll behind Florida State, Oregon State and TCU.
As we roll into mid-March (and March Madness!), it seems as if the Cardinals have given up losing for Lent. U of L reeled off another four wins, the last two needing late game heroics from Devin Hairston and Jake Sparger, to push their undefeated mark to 11-0.
Up next, the Cards begin a stretch where they play five games in the next six days, starting with Tuesday’s road clash at EKU. Louisville will follow that up with another four-game home stand against Fort Wayne and begin conference play against Pitt.
Here are some comments after today’s 8-7 win over Eastern Michigan from head coach Dan McDonnell, Drew Ellis and freshman pitcher Adam Elliot.
Louisville baseball continues to go red-hot to start 2017, opening the season with ten straight wins after a sweep against Morehead State and Eastern Michigan.
For more stats from the Morehead State game, be sure to check out Matt’s recap from Wednesday.
Louisville Floors EMU 13-0 to go 9-0
The Cardinals began the series with a 13-0 shutout of Eastern Michigan, moving to 9-0 in the process.
The shutout marked the fourth time this season Louisville has done so. It is also the sixth time U of L has scored 10+ runs in their first nine games, and the second time where U of L scored 10+ while pitching a shutout. With four shutouts in their first 11 games, U of L is currently on pace to pass their record of 11 shutouts from last year.
Freshman Tyler Fitzgerald, who hit out of the nine-hole due to Brendan McKay’s absence, led the Cardinals with a 3-of-4 performance at the plate and an RBI double in the sixth inning. Devin Mann rebounded from a slow start to hit 2-of-3 at the plate. Colin Lyman’s RBI single in the seventh inning pushed the lead to 12-0. Drew Ellis also nailed 3-of-4 at the plate with two doubles, one of which had an RBI in the fifth that scored Mann.
Another week in the office for Louisville, as they went 4-0 during the week against Eastern Kentucky and Nebraska-Omaha. The four-game stretch pushed Louisville’s record at home to 40-3 in their last 43 games. For more information on last week’s games, be sure to check out the postgame recap on CSZ.
Up next, the Cardinals will finish their eight-game home stand against another in-state foe in Morehead State, then a weekend series against Eastern Michigan.
Following a successful three-game stretch in Florida, the Cardinals returned home to start their 2017 home slate, beginning their eight game home stretch at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Louisville Destroys EKU 19-3
The week began with thunderous authority, as U of L downed Eastern Kentucky 19-3 in its home opener. The day was led by All-American candidates Devin Hairston (4-4, three RBI) and Brendan McKay (2-4, four RBI, HR).
Jake Snider also had a noteworthy play in the fifth. The freshman singled up to center field, but an error by the center fielder resulted in Snider making it back to home for an unearned score. Had the error not occurred, it would have been Louisville’s first inside-the-park home run in 12 years.
After McKay opened with a grand-slam in the first inning, EKU rallied to cut the deficit to 4-3 with an RBI single from Jacob Abbott in the second, and then two more runs in the third with an RBI bunt and a wild pitch. Louisville then went on a 15-0 run from the fifth to the eighth inning, led by a two-run home run from Drew Ellis. Logan Taylor had another stellar night, batting 3-of-4 with two RBI.
Bryan Hoeing earned his first career start for Louisville, striking out seven but allowing three earned runs on four hits. Rabon Martin would earn the win with three no-hit shutout innings and striking out three.
Recap: Cardinals Dominate Weekend in Florida
Three games, three wins. It was down to business for Louisville, as they swept their opening series in Clearwater, FL. The Cardinals emerged 3-0 with solid wins over defending SWAC champions Alabama State, preseason Big Ten favorite Maryland, and MAC East Division favorite Ball State.
For more information on last weekend’s series in Clearwater, here are some stats and results from the games.
Up Next: The Cardinals will make their 2017 debut at Jim Patterson Stadium with a weekday against in-state foe Eastern Kentucky, and a weekend series against Nebraska-Omaha.