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.
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.
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.
In one of the most anticipated days in Louisville baseball history after the Ali funeral service on Friday, Louisville could not be blessed. Untimely hits allowed and multiple runners left on base doomed the Cardinals (50-13), resulting in a 4-2 win for UC-Santa Barbara.
The loss for Louisville is only the Cardinals’ second at home all-season, after going 36-1 prior to today’s loss. The other loss was 6-3 against Virginia on March 25th, with third-round pick Connor Jones pitching for the Cavaliers.
The saying usually goes “better late than never,” and that was the case as #3 Louisville beat #12 Kentucky 7-6 in a wild, thrilling comeback in front of 4,642 fans at Jim Patterson Stadium.
A week after Kentucky almost delivered a comeback against Louisville at home, the Cardinals came through with one of their own. Devin Hairston led the way as the Cardinals (30-7, 13-5) scored six runs in the final three innings to secure their fifth straight win over rival Kentucky (23-13). Hairston finished the night 3-for-5 at the plate with a walk-off RBI single that drove in a diving Colin Lyman to score the winning run.
“This team has a lot of fight,” Hairston said. “We have that type of confidence and swagger about us that no matter what the score is, we’re going to get the job done.”
Well it is well after midnight on the night that the 2016 Men’s basketball season so unfairly ended. I will try to contain myself and save that for another post. As I sit here thumbing through Twitter and planning out my schedule for the next few months I can’t help but to get excited for Spring. I go to almost every University of Louisville Baseball game and will be in attendance at the YUM for the Lady Cards if we get that far but Spring is in the air. Spring practice leads to the Spring game. The Spring game leads to summer. Summer leads to the beginning of the 2016 College Football season. How will we handle a season without a QB controversy? Will we have yet another QB controversy. How will Jawon pan out? Those are the questions on my mind. I seen an article by the Courier-Journals Steve Jones that got me excited as well. Is CBP building a team around Lamar Jackson? I would have to say the answer is yes. Did you see the WR core he just signed? I will say now that they have the potential to be the best group of all time. That’s high praise but just I feel. I will share with you the article below and you tell me how you feel. I am somehow ready for Football about 4 months too early
The Louisville baseball program’s 2013 recruiting class was ranked 19th nationally by Baseball America, which announced its annual recruiting rankings on Tuesday afternoon. This is the fifth time in the last six seasons the Cardinals have signed a recruiting class ranked among the top 25 in the nation under the guidance of head coach Dan McDonnell and assistant coaches Chris Lemonis and Roger Williams. Listed below are some of the notes published by Baseball America published about Louisville’s 2013 recruiting class, which is on campus and recently completed fall workouts in preparation for the 2014 season. For the full recap of the entire Baseball America Top 25 Recruiting Classes, visit http://www.baseballamerica.com/college/college-recruiting-rankings-florida-ranks-no-1/. Fans can follow Louisville baseball on Twitter at http://twitter.com/uoflbaseball and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ulbaseball. Click below for details on the 2013 class.