6’1″, 200 lbs
An enforcer on the defensive side of the ball, CJ Avery is a hard-hitting safety out of Grenada HS in Grenada, MS. His senior season, he helped lead Grenada HS to a 9-3 overall record, as well as a berth in the Mississippi Class 5A state playoffs. That season, he made his presence known to opposing offenses, logging 57 solo tackles (61 total), averaging 5.1 tackles a game. He also forced 2 fumbles and recovering 1, as well as intercepting 2 passes with 1 being a pick six. Avery is defensive back who’s not afraid to line up in the box with the linebackers, pin his ears back and make the hard hit, having a specialty in stopping the run. Facing tremendous pressure to stay in state and attend either Ole Miss or Mississippi State, he made the gutsy decision to take his talents out-of-state, citing his love of the coaching staff and their involvement in the recruiting process, as well as calling Louisville “like home” on his official visit.
With a Saturday night game on tap for the Cardinals, there is plenty of opportunity for fans to watch around the college football world and hope for some falling down in front of them.
Wake Forest at #5 Louisville (7 PM, ESPN2)
Favorite: Louisville by 35
What an opening week for the Louisville baseball team. After starting the season with its highest ranking in school history and some very potent offense, the 4-0 Cardinals will face their first major test this weekend with a trip to Oxford, MS to face #21 Ole Miss. The Cardinals also have a Tuesday matchup v. Morehead State, who last year won the Ohio Valley Conference Postseason Tournament.
Pitching for the Cards
The Cardinals opened the season with some serious offense. The Cardinals swept SIU-Edwardsville in front of an opening record crowd with scores of 21-4, 12-0 and 10-1. They also earned a 14-2 victory over Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday, led by two home runs from Will Smith and a spectacular performance from outfielder Corey Ray (5/6, HR, 3B, 2 RBI).
The Batting Order
- Serious firepower: The Cardinals have started the season with four straight games of 10+ runs, the first time this has happened since 1987. (Stat courtesy of Louisville stats expert Kelly Dickey.)
- Still #2: The Cardinals maintained their #2 rankings across the board, still a program-high for the school. Also of note, the Cardinals’ combined 43 runs v. SIU-Edwardsville was the most for a weekend in the Dan McDonnell era.
- The star shines bright: OF Corey Ray was named ACC Player of the Week for his sensational performance over the weekend versus SIU-Edwardsville: 6/9, two home runs, seven RBI, nine runs and six stolen bases. Ray also went 5/6 with a home run in Tuesday’s win v. Eastern Kentucky.
- Walk the line: On Saturday, Nick Solak set a single-game school record with five walks in a 12-0 win versus SIU-Edwardsville.
- On the road: The Cardinals continue their season with their first weekend road series at #21 Ole Miss, followed by a home game on Tuesday v. Morehead State.
- About Ole Miss and Morehead State: Ole Miss completed a series sweep of FIU last weekend and notched a 4-3 win over Arkansas State yesterday. Morehead State completed a weekend sweep of NC-Central, including a 24-4 win on Saturday with a school record 29 hits. However, Morehead State lost 7-5 to #8 NC State on Tuesday.
- Players to Watch (Ole Miss): Errol Robinson and Tate Blackman. Robinson was tabbed as a preseason All-America by Baseball America and D1baseball.com, as well as an All-SEC Second Team shortstop. Second baseman Tate Blackman went 6/10 with 6 RBI and 6 runs scored in last weekend’s sweep of FIU.
- Players to Watch (Morehead State): Alex Stephens and Will Schneider. Third baseman Alex Stephens was named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Week for his performance in last weekend’s sweep of NC-Central. The junior hit .429 with 5 RBI and also hit for the cycle in Saturday’s win over NC-Central, also going 3/3 with two doubles at NC State on Tuesday. Outfielder Will Schneider also added two home runs in last weekend’s series v. NC-Central.
- How to Watch/Listen: The series will open Friday at 5 p.m., ET at Oxford-University Stadium with radio coverage starting on 1450 WXVW and concluding on 93.9 The Ville. The series will continue on Saturday at 2:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2:30 p.m., with both games slated for 93.9 The Ville. All three games will also be televised by SEC Network+ online through WatchESPN. Tuesday’s coverage vs MSU will be on 1450 WXVW.