Headlined by home games against Virginia, Clemson, NC State and Notre Dame as well as 29 of 56 contests against NCAA Regional qualifiers from last season, the University of Louisville baseball program released its 2016 schedule on Wednesday.
The Cardinals will follow their third straight NCAA Super Regional season with a 34-game home slate in 2016, including 19 games against NCAA postseason clubs. Overall, Louisville will play seven games against 2015 CWS teams — a three-game series at home against Virginia, a three-game road set at Miami and a midweek road visit to Vanderbilt in the annual Battle of the Barrel.
For the first time since 2010, the Cardinals will open their season at home as they host SIU Edwardsville for a three-game series at Jim Patterson Stadium on Feb. 19-21. Following a midweek visit from in-state foe Eastern Kentucky on Feb. 23, Louisville will take to the road for the first time on Feb. 26-28 for a three-game set at Ole Miss.
As the calendar transitions to March, Louisville will begin a 10-game homestand with an NCAA Regional rematch against Morehead State on the first day of the month. The Cardinals will host Ivy League foe Princeton for a trio of games (March 4-6) and Longwood University for a midweek game (March 8) before kicking off the challenging 30-game ACC slate with home series against Notre Dame on March 11-13.
Louisville will conclude the two-week stretch at home with midweek games against Xavier (March 15) and Wright State (March 16) before returning to the road for a weekend series at Miami on March 18-20. After a midweek game at Big Ten foe Purdue (March 23), the Cardinals host reigning NCAA champion Virginia on March 25-27. Louisville will close the month of March with a midweek game at Western Kentucky (March 29).
The month of April will begin with a three-game home series against Virginia Tech (April 2-4), while on April 6, the Cardinals will travel to Lexington for the first of two midweek games against rival Kentucky. That will be followed by a weekend series in Tallahassee against Florida State on April 8-10. Louisville will then return home for the first of its two five-game homestands starting with a midweek visit from WKU on April 12. Clemson will visit Jim Patterson Stadium for the first time on April 15-17 and the second of the Battle of the Bluegrass games is set for April 19 against the Wildcats.
On April 22-24, the Cardinals visit Boston College for the first time before returning home to host FIU for a midweek game on April 27. For their late-season non-conference weekend, Louisville will host former Big East Conference rival St. John’s for a weekend series on April 29-May 1. The Cardinals’ second five-game homestand of the season will conclude on May 3 with a visit from another former conference foe, Cincinnati.
The final stretch of the regular season will commence with a three-game series at North Carolina on May 6-8 and will be followed by a midweek road contest at Vanderbilt. Louisville will conclude its regular season home schedule with a weekend series against NC State on May 13-15 and a single game against Indiana on May 17. The Cardinals will then close the regular season with a weekend visit to Wake Forest on May 19-21.
The 2016 ACC Baseball Championship is set for May 24-29 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C., while the 2016 NCAA Championship is scheduled to begin on June 3 with regional play. The College World Series in Omaha, Neb., is slated from June 18-28/29 at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.
2016 LOUISVILLE BASEBALL SCHEDULE NOTES
- The Cardinals’ annual Elementary School Day at Jim Patterson Stadium is set for Wednesday, March 16 at noon ET against Wright State.
- Louisville will host the inaugural Diamond Heritage Day on Sunday, April 3 at 1 p.m., against Virginia Tech as both teams will wear throwback uniforms. While in their second season as ACC foes, the Cardinals and Hokies competed as Metro Conference opponents from 1978-95.
- Cancer Awareness Night at the ballpark is set for Tuesday, April 12 against Western Kentucky.
- The series-opener against St. John’s on Friday, April 29 will be the Cardinals’ annual Patriotic Game at Jim Patterson Stadium.
- Louisville’s annual Senior Day ceremony is set for Sunday, May 15 prior to the matchup against NC State.
- The longest homestand of the 2016 season for Louisville will be 10 games from March 1-16. That homestand will be twice as long as the next longest stretch, which is five games during two different spans – April 12-19 and April 27-May 3.
- From week four of the season through week nine, the Cardinals will play five out of six weekend series against 2015 NCAA Regional qualifiers – Notre Dame (March 11-13), at Miami (March 18-20), Virginia (March 25-27), at Florida State (April 8-10) and Clemson (April 15-17).
- Overall, the Cardinals will play 13 different programs (29 games total) in 2016 that advanced to the 2015 NCAA Championship (Ole Miss, Morehead State, Notre Dame, Wright State, Miami, Virginia, Florida State, Clemson, FIU, St. John’s, Vanderbilt, NC State, Indiana).
- ACC foes Virginia, Clemson and NC State will make their first ever visits to Louisville in 2016.
- Virginia Tech will visit Louisville for the first time since winning two of three games against the Cardinals in 1995 when the two programs were members of the Metro Conference.
- The Cardinals will visit Florida State for the first time since dropping two of three games in a Metro Conference series in 1991.
- Louisville will play at Boston College and at Wake Forest for the first time in school history this season.
- The Cardinals are 277-90 (.754 winning percentage) all-time at Jim Patterson Stadium, which opened in April 2005.
- Louisville will continue its commitment to the fan experience by offering free admission to most home games at Jim Patterson Stadium. The lone exception is the April 19 contest against Kentucky ($10 reserved seating) to accommodate the high demand.
Jose Bautista to be Featured Guest at Leadoff Dinner
Six-time Major League Baseball All-Star outfielder Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays will be the featured guest at the 2016 Louisville Baseball Leadoff Dinner presented by Republic Bank on Friday, Jan. 29 at the Louisville Marriott Downtown.
The annual dinner, which is the primary fund-raising event for the Louisville baseball program, is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., ET in the Grand Ballroom at the Louisville Marriott Downtown. Tickets for the Leadoff Dinner are $60 each and can be purchased at www.GoCards.com. Tables of 10 for the event are also available for $600. The deadline to register is Jan. 22, 2015, while more information can be obtained by contacting Ronee Baxter at (502) 852-2015 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since making his MLB debut in 2004, Bautista has emerged as one of the best players in the game earning six straight All-Star selections, including four consecutive starts in the Midsummer Classic from 2011-14 and twice receiving the highest number of All-Star Game votes (2011, 2014). Bautista has twice led MLB in home runs connecting for 54 in 2010 and 43 in 2011 while also earning the Hank Aaron Award in each of those seasons as the top hitter in the American League. Bautista is also a three-time Sliver Slugger Award winner (2010, 2011, 2014), given annually to the best offensive player at each position in both the American League and the National League as determined by MLB coaches and managers.
During the 2015 season, Bautista hit 40 home runs with 114 RBI and 110 walks in 153 starts while leading the Blue Jays to their first postseason appearance since 1993. In the decisive fifth game of Toronto’s 2015 American League Division Series triumph over the Texas Rangers, Bautista connected for a game-winning three-run homer in the seventh inning of the Blue Jays’ 6-3 victory at Rogers Centre. Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Bautista played two seasons at Chipola College in Marianna, Florida before being selected in the 20th round of the 2000 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Since its debut in 1996, the Louisville Baseball Leadoff Dinner helps launch the baseball season by bringing some of the biggest names in the game to the Derby City. Last year’s event was headlined by UofL baseball alumni Chris Dominguez, Adam Duvall and Justin Marks, while other previous featured guests have included Josh Hamilton, Andy Pettitte, Joe Girardi, Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly, Alex Rodriguez, Tino Martinez, Scott Rolen, Tommy Lasorda, Chris Coghlan, Jeff Francoeur, Sean Green, Nick Swisher, Adam Wainwright, Chris Burke, Trystan Magnuson, Zack Cozart, B.J. Rosenberg and Rick Sweet.
The 2016 Louisville Baseball Leadoff Dinner presented by Republic Bank will be the 10th under the guidance of head coach Dan McDonnell, who has placed the Cardinals among the nation’s elite with three College World Series berths, five NCAA Super Regional appearances, eight NCAA Regional bids, six regular season conference championships, two conference tournament titles, 22 All-Americans and 406 wins overall in his first nine seasons.
ABOUT LOUISVILLE BASEBALL IN 2016
The Cardinals return an experienced, talented and deep roster of players from last year’s record-setting club, which won the ACC Atlantic Division title with the most league wins in conference history (25-5 record) and advanced to an NCAA Super Regional for the third straight season. Louisville returns more than 75 percent of its pitching starts from 2015, anchored by the 1-2 All-American punch of senior righty Kyle Funkhouser and sophomore lefty Brendan McKay. The pitching staff also returns 83 percent of its relief innings, including All-American junior closer Zack Burdi, talented junior lefty Drew Harrington and Freshman All-Americans Lincoln Henzman and Sean Leland.
Offensively, the Cardinals return seven players who started 30 or more games last season, including the top three hitters in junior outfielder and All-American Corey Ray, junior infielder Nick Solak and McKay, the reigning John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year. Collectively, Louisville returns 78 percent of its runs driven in, 73 percent of its extra-base hits, 72 percent of its total hits and 70 percent of its runs scored from the 2015 team.