Coming off of their best week so far in the 2019 season in which they went 5-0 against top 25 competition, the #11 Louisville Cardinals (18-6, 6-3) cooled off a touch and came back down to Earth. The Cards defeated the Eastern Kentucky Colonels (14-10) on the road in the midweek game to complete the two game season sweep, only to come home and lose their weekend series against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (16-8, 5-4).

Going 2-2 over the past week, it was a very up and down week of baseball for the Louisville Cardinals from both a pitching and hitting perspective. So far this season it’s no surprise that pitching was Louisville’s bright spot over the last 4 games. The pitching staff did not surrender more than 4 earned runs in any of their outings, and tossed double digit strikeouts in two of the games in the Georgia Tech series, including 18 in game 1 mostly thanks to Reid Detmers. The only concern was that Louisville did walk 5 batters in 3 of the 4 games, however when you strikeout 41 batters over the course of a week, it’s not too much cause for concern.

If there is any cause for concern regarding the Louisville Baseball program, it could come from their lack of consistent offensive production. In their wins against EKU and GT in game 3, the combined for 18 runs on 24 hits with a batting average of .324 to boot. However in their two losses in the beginning of the GT series, they only plated 1 run and batted an abysmal .116, including a performance in game 2 where they did not look patient at the plate in the slightest. It seems that in terms of the offense both the hitting and the lack of hitting are contagious depending on how the Cards start any given game. During their seven game win streak which was snapped to begin the GT series, they failed to plate a run in the first inning only once. Also, at this point in the season most offensive categories for Louisville rank in the bottom half of the ACC. Going forward, Louisville will have to not rely on early scoring so much like they did in game 3 of the GT series. All the pieces are there to make a significant run, but like I have stated before, there needs to be a bit more cohesion internally as a hitting unit.

Coming up this week, Louisville will take on the Miami RedHawks (18-4) in the midweek game and follow that up with another weekend conference series, taking on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (15-10).

News & Notes

  • Louisville falls to #11 in the nation following their 2-2 week (D1Baseball).
  • Reid ACC PoW?
  • Sophomore left-hander Reid Detmers’ 16 strikeouts in game 1 vs. GT was not only a new career high, but a new Jim Patterson Stadium single game individual strikeout record (Brendan McKay – 15).
  • Detmers is ranked 19th in ERA (0.87), 2nd in strikeouts (66) and 4th in WHIP (0.63).
  • Junior first baseman Logan Wyatt is still ranked #1 in the nation in walks with 33, and is 45th in on base percentage at .509.
  • Junior shortstop Tyler Fitzgerald is ranked 61st in the nation in stolen bases with 10.
  • Junior third baseman Justin Lavey tied his career high in hits with 3 in game 3 against Georgia Tech.

The Week Ahead

Louisville will spend the entire week at home, with your standard Tuesday midweek game and your normal slate of Friday-Sunday weekend series games.

Home (Louisville, KY)

  • Tuesday, March 26th at 6:00pm vs. Miami (OH)
    • ACC Network Extra
    • 93.9 The Ville
  • Friday, March 29th at 6:00pm vs. Wake Forest
    • ACC Network Extra
    • 93.9 The Ville or 1450 WXVW
  • Saturday, March 30th at 1:00pm vs. Wake Forest
    • ACC Network Extra
    • 93.9 The Ville or 1450 WXVW
  • Sunday, March 31st at 1:00pm vs. Wake Forest
    • ACC Network Extra
    • 93.9 The Ville or 1450 WXVW

Adjusting the ticketed entry plan first featured last season, 17 of this season’s 34 home games will revert back to free entry. This week, the Miami (OH) will be free entry, and the Wake Forest games will be ticketed entry. Tickets can be purchased here. In case you cannot make it to any of the games, all 4 games this week will be televised on ACC Network Extra. Tuesday’s game against Miami (OH) will be broadcast of 93.9 The Ville, with the Wake Forest series being a day-of broadcast decision.

Know The Foe

Midweek

School: Miami University
Nickname: Miami (OH) RedHawks
Location: Oxford, Ohio
Total Enrollment: 19,700
Head Coach (overall record): Danny Hayden (145-153)
2019 Record (conference record): 18-4 (2-1)
Ranking: NR
RPI: 155th
SOS: 289th
Team Leaders:

  • Avg: Mackay Williams (.355)
  • RBI: Charlie Harrigan (23)
  • HR: Landon Stephens (4)
  • ERA: Nick Urbantke (0.82)
  • Strikeouts: Tyler Bosma (32)
  • Wins: Jack Corbell, Bailey Martin, Sam Bachman (4)

Weekend

School: Wake Forest University
Nickname: Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Location: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Total Enrollment: 8,116
Head Coach (overall record): Tom Walter (309-286)
2019 Record (conference record): 15-10 (5-4)
Ranking: NR
RPI: 116th
SOS: 117th
Team Leaders:

  • Avg: Patrick Frick (.378)
  • RBI: Chris Lanzilli (33)
  • HR: Chris Lanzilli (6)
  • ERA: Bobby Hearn (1.38)
  • Strikeouts: Jared Shuster (51)
  • Wins: Jared Shuster (4)

Opponent Breakdown

Miami (OH) Wake Forest Louisville
Base on Balls 40 (121) 2 (159) 33 (125)
Batting Average 45 (.291) 44 (.291) 141 (.263)
Hits 85 (215) 9 (261) 95 (212)
Home Runs 117 (15) 16 (27) 129 (14)
Runs 25 (172) 9 (200) 81 (147)
Slugging Percentage 35 (.448) 39 (.446) 172 (.373)
Earned Run Average 54 (3.66) 191 (5.38) 14 (2.79)
Strikeouts Per 9 Innings 21 (10.1) 54 (9.4) 16 (10.4)
WHIP 46 (1.28) 155 (1.51) 10 (1.09)
Walks Allowed/9 Inn. 117 (4.08) 169 (4.55) 41 (3.37)
Key: Rank out of 297 (Value)

Outside of Ole Miss, Miami of Ohio is probably the best midweek opponent that the Cards have faced all season. From top to bottom they have a very solid roster, with serviceable options both at the plate and on the mound. They are very consistent at the plate, with 5 players with double digit walks, 6 players batting over .300 and 9 players with double digit RBIs. Senior outfielder Mackey Williams is the best all-around offensive options for the RedHawks, leading the team in batting average, slugging percentage and triples, and is second on the team in RBIs and total bases. Sophomore Cristian Tejeda is a player who really knows how to get the ball deep into the alley, as he leads the team in doubles with 10 (22nd in the nation). Junior infielder Landon Stephens may be second on the team in slugging percentage, but is without a doubt the RedHawks’ go-to power guy. He leads the team in home runs (4) and extra base hits (15), but on the flip side leads the team in strikeouts. The pitching staff will have to put some well placed pitches in the zone to avoid Stephens and the rest of the RedHawks from going yard.

Their pitching is solid but not quite a good as their hitting counterparts. Go-to midweek starter right-hander Bailey Martin has racked up some strikeouts, but has also racked up the hits, walks and earned runs with a 4.12 ERA. If the Cardinal Nine chase him out of the game early, they’ll have to face a couple relievers that will keep their hands full. Senior right-hander Shane Smith and junior left-hander Nick Urbantke have combined for a 1.93 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 35-12 over 28.0 innings of work. The one caveat however in all of this, is that Miami has played pretty much nobody. Their 18-4 record comes at the cost of a strength of schedule ranked 289th in division 1 baseball, just 8 spots from the very bottom. While on paper they have a solid team, in actuality it could all be smoke and mirrors.

While Wake Forest sits at 15-10 and is one of 5 teams in the ACC with double digits losses already at this point in the season, on paper they are not nearly as bad as one would think. They have a top 5 offense in the ACC, with 6 players batting over .300, 4 players with 20 or more RBIs (2 with 30+), 5 players with 3 or more home runs, and 5 starters with slugging percentages over .500. Sophomore outfielder Chris Lanzilli has mainly been Wake’s guy to power their high-flying offense. He leads the ACC in doubles with 13 (3rd in nation) and leads the Demon Deacons in slugging percentage and home runs (.606 and 6). Accompanied by junior infielder Patrick Frick who leads  the team in batting average (.378), walks (23) and is second in on base percentage (.491), the Deacs have a very real possibility of scoring in bunches.

What holds Wake Forest back is their pitching and defense. They sport a team ERA of 5.38, with only 4 pitchers carrying an ERA less than that. Even their starting rotation which torched the Cards last season in Winston-Salem has struggled. Right-handers Morgan McSweeney & Colin Peluse and left-hander Jared Shuster over their 18 combined starts have an ERA of 4.96. While they have struck out 105 batters, the bulk of it comes from Shuster as he has 51 on the season. However, both him and Peluse have given up 20 earned run over 33.1 and 30.0 innings respectively. Friday starter Morgan McSweeney is statically the best of the rotation, but with an ERA of 3.98 and strikeout-to-walk ratio of only 27-14, it isn’t saying much. That combined with a fielding percentage of .966 (10th in ACC) and 33 team errors makes Wake Forest a relatively easy team to score on.

I predict that after yet another high scoring midweek game which sees the Cards prevail against the RedHawks, Louisville will have a much better outing in their next weekend series and win the Wake Forest series 2 games to 1.

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Matt McGavic

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