Brendan McKay has won just about every baseball award he possibly could , including the Dick Howser trophy, ACC player of the year, John Olerud 2-way player of the year, Baseball America player of the year and he was the 4th pick in the MLB draft. Well, you can add Golden Spikes awards to his list. The Golden Spikes award is given annually to the best amateur baseball player in the United States based on their athletic ability, sportsmanship, character and overall contribution to the sport.
Every person who is a fan of the Louisville Baseball program knows that we have something special down at Jim Patterson Stadium. Since Dan McDonnell took over as the head coach, the program has experienced unprecedented success and continues to raise the bar every season. This is especially true since Louisville has joined the prestigious Atlantic Coast Conference. In fact, the Cardinals have quickly established themselves as one of, if not the most, dominant teams in conference play. How successful has Louisville’s run in the ACC been? Let’s take an in-depth look.
Breaking news: Louisville baseball continues to be dominant, now standing at 46-6 and again the consensus #2 team in the country.
It was another stellar week for the Cardinals, as #2 Louisville got four big wins over #25 Vanderbilt and #7 Clemson. The victories against the Tigers earned U of L its third straight Atlantic Division title, along with remaining ahead for a possible overall regular-season title.
It was another week of handling business as usual for the #2 Cardinals. U of L (42-6) swept another four-game week against Miami of Ohio and Notre Dame, who remain the consensus #2 team in the country on an 11-game winning streak. This is the second time the Cards have reached a winning streak of double digits, a first in the program’s history.
Up next, Louisville begins the gauntlet to close the regular season with Vanderbilt and Clemson on deck.
The Batting Order
1. Drew Ellis Earns National Honors
Louisville infielder Drew Ellis walked away with National Player of the Month honors for the month of the April. Ellis earned it while hitting .455 during the month, along with 22 RBI, five doubles, eight home runs and a triple.
Additionally, Ellis is one of two Cardinal players that have started all 48 games this season. The junior currently leads the team with a .393 batting average, 16 doubles, 13 home runs and a .732 slugging percentage.
A pair of comeback victories and stellar pitching highlighted another 4-0 week for the Cardinals, who swept the week with wins against Miami of Ohio and Notre Dame. Louisville (41-6) now enters the final two weeks of the season with one of the best records in school history, and an 11-game winning streak.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Welcome back to another edition of Around the Bases, where we look at what a spectacular week it was for the Cardinals.
It began on April 12th, when the Cardinals traveled to Lexington and beat rival Kentucky 9-6 for their fifth straight win in the rivalry.
Dan McDonnell and the Louisville Cardinals baseball team have been selected as the preseason favorite in the ACC for 2016, as selected by the league coaches. The full poll for each division is below.
So the Louisville Cardinals have certainly welcomed themselves into the ACC neighborhood in nearly every sport this season. Baseball has been no exception at all. After setting the record for most conference wins in an ACC season with 25, the Cards were rewarded on Monday afternoon when the regular season awards were announced.
Check out the awards. Just a little bit of Louisville flavor.
The ACC has released the bracket for the upcoming conference tournament that will begin on Tuesday in Durham, North Carolina. The Louisville Cardinals are the #1 seed and will play on Wednesday at 7 p.m. against the winner of North Carolina and Virginia Tech.
The format of the tournament can be better explained from theacc.com release:
Tied at 5 in the 9th inning, the Cards scored three runs, including one on a squeeze play, to beat NC State 8-5. With the win, the Cards won every ACC series this season and set a record for the most conference wins in ACC history with 25.
The Cards continued their winning ways on Thursday by picking up another ACC win on the road against NC State. Here are the highlights. They are back at it this evening at 6:30 on ESPN3 and 93.9 The Ville.
The Cards wrapped up the Atlantic Division of the ACC on Saturday afternoon by beating Florida State, and here are the highlights.
Louisville baseball is rolling. The Cards have climbed their way up to a #2 ranking in the D1Baseball Rankings, which is the highest in school history. Last night was the rubber match of a three game series on the road at Clemson. After losing the lead and getting down 5-4, Louisville came back to win it 9-5, which you can see in the highlight video below.
Next up for the Cards is a rematch against Kentucky on Wednesday at 6:30 pm ET. The game will be in Lexington and can be heard on 93.9 The Ville.
The Louisville Cardinals remain ranked 3rd in the country in the Perfect Game College Baseball rankings. They went 3-1 last week and that was highlighted by a series sweep of Wake Forest. The play that everyone is talking about from the series is Corey Ray’s steal of home to win the game and complete the sweep. Here is that play with Sean Moth on the call. The full poll is also below.