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.
“ALL RISE!!! Court is now in session. The honorable Bucket Hat King LJ tha Fiasco presiding. Please be seated and come to order”
Good morning folks, the BHK would like to start off the court proceedings by giving a shoutout to the people who make Lisinopril and other blood pressure meds that keep the BHK from having a heart attack while watching the Cards. We are used to having heart palpitations during basketball season but I don’t need to have them during football season too. Also, shout out to Tim Sullivan aka Slim Tully who took the time to engage me in Twitter interaction after I lambasted and destroyed him last week. Most guys would block me, like Tom Davis. Most guys would run and hide, like Tom Davis. Most guys would throw rocks from their one bedroom Scott County Indiana apartment and then block me…..like Tom Davis. But not Slim Tully, he indicated he is a “big boy” and I must admit he earned some of my respect. He lost it again after he posted a Louisville B-ball scandal story smack dab in the middle of a nail-biter Louisville football game.
Anyway, let’s get into the notes I took over the weekend while yelling at my TV and pacing a hole in the floor. Any outbursts and you will be removed from the court by @VilleSportslaw. He doesn’t take kindly to outbursts and Indiana residents.
(Click on More below for this week’s BucketHatism)
Here are the videos of Rick Pitino, Donovan Mitchell, Deng Adel, and Trey Lewis following the loss against Virginia. The transcript for Rick Pitino’s comments are also below. He says he saw this day coming. Let’s just have a warning of it next time so we don’t get so amped up. Thanks.
It happened. Face it, deal with it, and then move on to UNC. Go Cards!
Rick Pitino met with the media on Friday afternoon to preview Saturday’s game against Virginia. Video and transcript below.
Video from TheCrunchZone.com
It’s a big weekend, obviously, with two highly ranked teams and well-coached teams coming in here. What (Virginia) just did to Wake Forest was interesting to say the least. We’re coming off a very good road swing where we — the second game — played probably our worst defensive outing of the year. But I think that had a lot to do with the officiating for both teams. That’s what’s happening in college basketball. That’s why the scoring is up the same way it was in the NBA. Players have to get used to the offensive player banging into you to create fouls, and they’ve got to get used to drawing offensive fouls and holding your plane. The NBA had to get used to it and now the college has to get used to it. That’s why scoring is up because more free throws are being shot.
Q: Do you like the way it’s being called?
This is just a friendly reminder that the men’s basketball game against Virginia on Saturday is a “white out”. Meaning? Wear white if you will be at the game. Obviously, the team will also be wearing white, but they will be in these “iced out” uniforms.
Bobby Petrino and offensive tackle Geron Christian met with the media on Monday afternoon to preview this Saturday’s game at Pittsburgh. They also recap the win over Virginia.
Here is James Burgess on the field after the game on Saturday. He talks about the mentality that the Cards have had all season long, after starting 0-3 and now being 6-4.
Coach Bobby Petrino speaks to the media following Saturday’s 38-31 win over Virginia on Senior Day at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
As winners of five of their last six games, the Cardinals are looking to earn bowl eligibility for a sixth straight season when they face their new conference rivals, the Virginia Cavaliers. The Cavaliers, however, must win to keep their hopes of bowl eligibility alive.
The Cardinals and Cavaliers played last season in early September. The Cards jumped to an early 7-0 lead, but sacks and turnovers ultimately doomed Louisville. A fumbled punt by Louisville led to an Ian Frye 42-yard field goal with 3:42 left to lead the Cavaliers to a 23-21 upset over the #21 Cardinals.
Bobby Petrino, Trumaine Washington, and Brandon Radcliff met with the media on Monday to talk about the Syracuse game and preview this weekend’s game against Virginia. Washington was named ACC Defensive Back of the Week and Radcliff had his best game of the season on Saturday, or at least his best since the Auburn game.
Rise and shine! The last two home games of the season for the Louisville Cardinals will both kickoff at 12:30, as today the ACC announced the times for games on the weekend of November 14. So obviously, Louisville vs Virginia will be at 12:30 and televised on the Regional Sports Network, which generally means WAVE-3 or WHAS-11.
So for the home season, Louisville will have had three games at 12:30, one game at noon, Clemson was 7:30 on a Thursday, and Samford was the only night game (6:00) on a Saturday.
Here is the full slate of ACC games for that day:
On Mangok Mathiang’s game winning shot
I’ll have to take a look at the tape and I don’t know if we had anybody getting to him. But we obviously wanted to make it hard for Rozier and Montrezl. I thought we defended the possession pretty well. There’s always that could we switch ball screens? Could we do some things? But with the guys we had on the floor and not going with Anthony, we thought we wanted to clean up the rebound if it’s there. I don’t want to say I expected him to not make it, but I was okay with the way we defended that possession. I don’t know if someone was scrambling to at least bother the shot, but good for him. He stepped up and hit a big shot. I don’t think that’s his forte, but he did it in a big setting and that was obviously the nail in the coffin for us.
I think we messed up defensively on that last play by running into the screen but our guys did so many good things tonight. I’m really happy we won. It would’ve been a really difficult loss because we got our 35 deflections, we were eight for eleven on the break, we moved the basketball, and their focus on the scouting report was outstanding. I was so happy Mangok made that shot because it was a big lift for our basketball team after playing real well. What we tried to do, obviously we didn’t have a lot of time to, was run a lot of motion. We were hoping that Terry could get in the lane, look down low to Montrezl if he couldn’t turn the corner. Mangok was the 64th option.
All signs had been pointing to a possible return this Saturday for Virginia’s Justin Anderson. The junior hasn’t played since the last time Louisville played Virginia back on February 7 when he broke a finger on his shooting hand. Now, another problem has come up for Anderson and he will not be playing for the Cavaliers on Saturday. On Thursday, Anderson underwent an appendectomy.