Another week, another series sweep on behalf of the Louisville Cardinals. They got the week started with their first taste of real competition in a 6-4 victory against the Xavier Musketeers (3-7), and then followed that up with a 3 game series sweep of the Western Carolina Catamounts (1-10). This time around, they face a midweek game against the Morehead State Eagles on Tuesday, and then things really get interesting. Less than a month into the season, Louisville kicks off their ACC Conference schedule this weekend against the 2017 ACC Baseball Championship Runner-Up, the North Carolina Tar Heels (7-5). Not only will this mark the first ACC action of the season, but Friday’s series opener will be the season’s first home night game (6pm).
All Louisville Baseball games are ticketed entry this season for the very first time, and can be purchased through Ticketmaster here. Berm seating is $5 with reserved chair back seating costing $10. In case you cannot make it to the games, all 4 games this week will be featured on ACC Network Extra.
News & Notes
- Junior outfielder Josh Stowers’ on-base streak came to a halt at 24 games after he failed to reach base in the final game of the series against Western Carolina.
- In the series opener against Western Carolina, sophomore third baseman Justin Lavey attained career marks in both hits and RBIs, going 3-3 with 4 RBIs.
- Also in the series opener, junior left-hander Adam Wolf matched his career high 7 strikeouts and moved to 9-0 in his career.
- Logan Wyatt’s walk-off in Saturday’s game marked the first walk-off win for the Cardinals since May 2nd, 2017 in a 6-5, 10 inning game vs. Miami (Ohio).
- At 11-0, the Cards are off to their third best start in program history under head coach Dan McDonnell (13-0: 2010, 19-0: 2017).
- Louisville ranks #1 in the nation in sacrifice flies with 12.
- As of Monday’s polls, Louisville ranks as high as #8 (Collegiate Baseball Newspaper).
The Week Ahead
All games featured this week will take place at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Home (Louisville, KY)
- Tuesday, March 6th at 3pm vs. Morehead State
- Friday, March 9th at 6pm vs. North Carolina
- Saturday, March 10th at 1pm vs. North Carolina
- Sunday, March 11th at 12pm vs. North Carolina
|Morehead State||North Carolina||Louisville|
|Base on Balls||43 (59)||10 (76)||17 (71)|
|Batting Average||172 (.250)||110 (.268)||43 (.298)|
|Hits||127 (94)||67 (107)||83 (105)|
|Home Runs||162 (5)||29 (13)||129 (6)|
|Runs||139 (55)||42 (82)||20 (95)|
|Slugging Percentage||201 (.340)||84 (.413)||55 (.438)|
|Earned Run Average||158 (4.82)||111 (4.12)||27 (2.57)|
|Strikeouts Per 9 Innings||59 (9.6)||5 (11.4)||14 (10.7)|
|WHIP||123 (1.41)||145 (1.46)||47 (1.20)|
|Walks Allowed/9 Inn.||74 (3.34)||187 (4.63)||223 (4.96)|
|Key: Rank out of 297 (Value)|
With an average record of 6-5 and stats that (mostly) don’t really jump off the page, Morehead State doesn’t pose much of a threat to the Cards’ undefeated mark, with the exception of one player. Infielder Braxton Morris posts an impressive batting average of .462 (30th in the nation), and also has the ability to draw walks with 10 base on balls (74th in the nation). If Louisville can keep him in check, the should head into the weekend series against North Carolina with their unbeaten record in check.
It has been a bit of a rocky start to the season for North Carolina. Getting as high as #6 in the college baseball preseason polls, they have opened up their 2018 campaign with a 7-5 record, including losing 4 of their first 6 contests. This includes losing in mid week games to UNCW and St. John’s, losing their series against East Carolina, but winning their series against USF and sweeping Liberty. Their fringe .500 record is not for a lack of talent, as a majority of last year’s crop of players made a return to Chapel Hill.
The Tar Heels are lead by a trio of great hitters, in the form of first baseman Michael Busch, third baseman Kyle Datres, and outfielder Brandon Martorano. Busch and Datres both sport batting averages over .380, with Busch also registering a whopping 20 RBI, good for 7th in the nation. While Datres is more of a contact hitter, Busch and Martorano are known power hitter. Busch has a slugging percentage of .636 with 3 HR and Martorano has a slugging percentage of .676 with 4 HR, with both HR numbers being top 100 and both slugging percentages being top 200. Louisville’s young pitching staff will certainly have their hands full when it’s time for UNC’s meat of the order to come up to bat.
My prediction for the week: Louisville will win against Morehead State, and go 2-1 in the series against North Carolina to win the series but bring the undefeated season to a halt. Most likely the one loss against UNC will come on either Saturday or Sunday, as Adam Wolf has been lights out in three straight Friday starts.