Prior to tomorrow’s matchup against the #3 Florida Gators, the #7 Louisville Cardinals took to the practice field, where Defensive Player of the Year Devin Hairston was mic’d up.
In 62 games played, Hairston is batting .306/.354/.423 with 3 home runs and 51 RBIs. Known for his defense, Hairston also won the inaugural ACC Defensive Player of the Year, posting a fielding percentage of .987%.
In a game that didn’t have much at stake for either team, the No.1 overall seed Louisville Cardinals defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 10-3 in the Cards’ first game of pool play. Although the Cards managed to come away victorious, it didn’t really mean much in terms of advancing past pool play and onto the semifinals. This was because 12-seed Notre Dame’s loss to 8-seed Florida State the day before had not only mathematically eliminated Notre Dame, but had turned Friday’s Louisville/Florida State game into a de facto survive-and-advance game no matter the outcome of the Louisville/Notre Dame game.
The Atlantic Coast Conference announced their 2017 Baseball Honors this afternoon, and 3 Louisville Cardinals were awarded these honors. Coach Dan McDonnell was awarded Coach of the Year for an ACC record three straight times, Devin Hairston was awarded the inaugural Defensive Player of the Year, and Brendan McKay was awarded Player of the Year.
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.
The Louisville Baseball Cardinals continued their dominant season by going 4-0 against Purdue and Georgia Tech this past week, and outscoring them 31-7. This now puts the number two team in the nation at 31-4 overall, and 15-3 in ACC play.
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.
Behind a hot start from their bats, Louisville overcame a late game rally and took down Kentucky, 5-3 in this season’s first edition of the Battle of the Bluegrass.
Louisville got off to a quick start to the game, when they made the Cats pay dearly on a 2-out fielding error by third baseman Tyler Marshall in the first inning. The error got shortstop Devin Hairston on base, then two-way star Brendan McKay proceeded to single to left field, and Drew Ellis then knocked in a 2 RBI double to put the Cards up 2-0 after 1 inning.
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.
Going into this past week, the No.1 Louisville Baseball Cardinals had set a school record for best start to the season, going 19-0. However, the Cards had yet to play a road game this season, and faced two equally solid teams in Cincinnati and North Carolina State on the road this past week. They finished the week 2-2 after dropping the game to Cincinnati as well as the series opener to NC State, but went on to and win the series 2-1, to put them at 21-2 on the season.
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.
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.
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.
Alabama State Stung By Louisville Bats
The Cardinals opened the 2017 season in style, as the Cardinals came away with a 7-0 win over Alabama State. The victory marked the Cardinals fourth straight in a season opener, and pushing Dan McDonnell’s record to 8-3 all-time in such games.
Brendan McKay had a solid 2017 debut at both the plate and the mound. McKay earned a victory with six shutout innings, and striking out nine in the process. McKay allowed the Hornets’ four hits in the game, but also went 2-of-3 at the plate with two RBI, including a home run in the fifth inning. Bryan Hoeing pitched three perfect innings in relief duty, earning the save while striking out two in the process.
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UofL Baseball S.I.D. Garett Wall
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The 2016 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, featuring rising University of Louisville juniors Devin Hairston and Brendan McKay, split its four games against Chinese Taipei last week while also withstanding Super Typhoon Nepartak, which made landfall in Taiwan on July 8.
In a series originally slated for five games, Team USA won games two (3-1) and four (3-2) while dropping games one (8-7) and three (3-2) before the deciding fifth game was cancelled in the fourth inning due to heavy rains and lightning. The two teams played on July 5-6 as scheduled before adjusting the slate with a doubleheader on July 7 in advance of the arrival of Nepartak. After successfully navigating the heavy rains and winds on July 8, the attempt to determine a series winner on July 9 was halted early because of inclement weather.