From UofL SID
GAME DAY INFO: #2 Louisville (37-11, 21-3 ACC) at Kentucky (26-20, 11-12 SEC)
Date: Wednesday, May 6, 2015 | 6:30 p.m. ET
Location: Lexington, Ky.
Venue: Cliff Hagan Stadium
Live Stats: Gametracker at GoCards.com
Twitter Updates: @UofLBaseball
The second-ranked and ACC leading Louisville baseball team will close its season series against Kentucky on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., ET on the road at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The game will be televised by SEC Network+ through WatchESPN. Radio coverage for the game will be provided by 93.9 The Ville, while subscribers of CardsTV can listen to live audio at GoCards.com.
ABOUT THE CARDINALS
Louisville won its 10th straight series overall and its eighth straight ACC series after winning the final two games at Clemson over the weekend. The Cardinals, carrying their highest ranking in program history at No. 2 in the D1Baseball and NCBWA polls, have won 26 of their last 31 games overall. With six games left in the ACC race, Louisville has a five-game advantage in the Atlantic Division with a 21-3 mark, matching the most conference wins in a season for the program.
NO. 14 IN THE RPI, NO. 1 IN TOP 50 WINS
With less than three weeks of action remaining until the 2015 NCAA Championship field is announced, Louisville enters Wednesday’s at No. 13 in the unofficial RPI rankings at D1Baseball.com. The Cardinals are tied with LSU for the most RPI top 50 wins in the nation with 14 (14-5 overall), while UCLA and Florida State are next with 13 each. Wednesday’s game begins a stretch of eight straight games against top 55 teams.
ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE RACE
With two weeks remaining in the ACC regular season race, Louisville is atop the Atlantic Division with a 21-3 conference mark. The Cardinals hold a five-game lead over Florida State (16-8) while Clemson (13-13) is third. Notre Dame (12-12), NC State (11-12), Wake Forest (11-13) and Boston College (9-17) round out the Atlantic. Miami leads the Coastal at 16-8, with North Carolina following at 13-10. Georgia Tech is next at 11-13 and is trailed by Virginia (10-14).
Louisville trails 37-61-1 all-time against Kentucky in a series dating back to 1925. Last week, the Cardinals earned a 2-1 win in 10 innings in Louisville and have won back-to-back games against the Wildcats in the series. Last season, Louisville was 1-2 against Kentucky with the lone victory coming in the championship round of the NCAA Regional at Jim Patterson Stadium when the Cardinals won 4-1 to advance to their second straight NCAA Super Regional.
ABOUT THE WILDCATS
Kentucky is 26-20 overall after dropping two of three home games to No. 6 Vanderbilt last weekend. Last season, UK finished with a 37-25 record overall and was fourth in the SEC Eastern Division with a 14-16 conference mark. The Wildcats earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Championship before falling in the title game of the NCAA Louisville Regional to the Cardinals.
TEAM NOTES AND TRENDS
• Through 48 games this season, the Louisville bullpen has a 1.54 ERA with a 17-0 record, 179 strikeouts to just 63 walks in 164.0 innings and opposing batters are hitting only .168.
• In 24 ACC games, the Cardinals have a staff ERA of 2.37 with 199 strikeouts in 224.0 innings. The bullpen has a 1.67 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 70.0 innings of work in conference action.
• Louisville has won 131 straight games when entering the ninth inning with a lead dating back to May 2012. The Cardinals were 43-0 last season and 46-0 in 2013 when leading after the eighth.
• The Cardinals are 29-2 this season when out-hitting their opponents, 2-8 when out-hit and 6-1 when hits are tied. Last season, Louisville was 38-3 when out-hitting its opponents.
• The Cardinals have allowed two or fewer earned runs in 30 of 48 games this season. Last season, they did it in 40 of 67 games, while in 2013, they accomplished the feat in 36 of 65 games.
• Louisville is 26-0 this season when scoring first and 14-0 when scoring in the first inning.
• From March 21 to April 10 of this season, the Cardinals played 83 consecutive innings against ACC opponents without trailing.
PLAYER NOTES AND TRENDS
• Sutton Whiting leads the Cardinals in hitting with a .348 average overall in 47 starts. In ACC action, Whiting has a .387 average and has reached safely in 22 of his 23 conference games.
• Corey Ray leads the Cardinals with 11 home runs, 46 RBI, 39 runs scored and 26 stolen bases in 32 attempts. He’s also hitting .332 overall while starting all three outfield positions.
• In 24 ACC games, Ray has seven home runs, 25 RBI, 21 stolen bases and a .343 average.
• As the first player in Dan McDonnell’s nine seasons to start on the mound and play virtually every day as a position player/hitter, freshman Brendan McKay is 7-1 with four saves, a 1.81 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 64.2 innings pitched (15 appearances, eight starts.). At the plate, he is hitting .333 with two home runs, 26 RBI, 27 runs scored and 30 walks in 41 starts as a hitter.
• In his last 10 starts on the mound, Josh Rogers is 7-0 with a 1.76 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 61.1 innings pitched.
• Nick Solak has his career-best 20-game hitting streak halted on Saturday at Clemson, however he continues to produce carrying a .328 average with a team-high 12 doubles, 32 RBI, 36 runs scored and 17 stolen bases in 20 attempts. In 24 ACC games, Solak is hitting .356 with eight doubles, 18 RBI and 20 runs scored.
CARDINALS IN NATIONAL POLLS EVERY WEEK SINCE BEGINNING OF 2012
The Louisville baseball program has enjoyed a historic run by remaining in at least one of the major national polls every week since the release of the 2012 preseason rankings — the longest such span in school history. On May 4, the Cardinals earned their highest ranking in school history rising to No. 2 in the D1Baseball and NCBWA polls after opening the season as high as No. 7 in the USA Today preseason coaches poll. The coaches ranking marked the third straight season the Cardinals were positioned in the top 10 in a preseason poll.
Earning a preseason national ranking for the eighth straight season, Louisville was ranked in the top 12 in each of the six preseason national polls in 2015. The Cardinals were also at No. 9 in the Perfect Game preseason Top 25, No. 11 in the D1Baseball Top 25 and No. 12 in both the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball newspaper polls.
LOUISVILLE PITCHERS LEAD NATION IN STRIKEOUTS SINCE 2012
Since 2012, Louisville’s pitchers lead the nation in strikeouts with 2,104 overall (prior to Monday’s game). The Cardinals, who had 437 strikeouts through 47 games of 2015, finished with 563 strikeouts last season, had an NCAA best 629 in 2013 and finished with 474 in 2012. Vanderbilt ranks second since 2012 with 2,103 strikeouts, while NC State (2,046), Mississippi State (1,997) and North Carolina (1,986) round out the top five.
RAY STEALS HOME, HEADLINES IN NINTH INNING AGAINST WAKE FOREST
Considered by many to be the most exciting play in baseball, sophomore Corey Ray took it to a new level on April 18 at Jim Patterson Stadium by not only stealing home, but doing it in the bottom of the ninth inning to score the game-winning run and complete a series sweep of visiting Wake Forest. Moments after the Cardinals had tied the game on a wild pitch, Ray charged down the third base line sliding around the attempted tag and across home plate setting off a wild celebration. The play gained national attention as it was not only featured at No. 8 in Sunday’s SC Top 10, but was also used by ESPN during its opening segment of SportsCenter that morning.
LOUISVILLE WELL REPRESENTED ON NATIONAL AWARD WATCH LISTS
With the postseason fast-approaching, numerous national award watch lists have been released and the Louisville baseball program has been well represented. A total of five Cardinals — Zack Burd,Kyle Funkhouser, Brendan McKay, Will Smith and Sutton Whiting — were named to six different national watch lists. Here are more details on each award.
• BROOKS WALLACE AWARD WATCH LIST: Sutton Whiting
Sutton Whiting was named on April 23 to the initial watch list for the 2015 Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award. The award, sponsored by Mizuno, recognizes the nation’s top shortstop and will be presented during the National College Baseball Hall of Fame’s Night of Champions on June 29 in Lubbock. For more information on the Brooks Wallace Award or the College Baseball Hall of Fame’s Night of Champions, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.
• PITCHER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST: Kyle Funkhouser & Brendan McKay
Kyle Funkhouser and lefthander Brendan McKay were among 46 players named on April 23 to the initial watch list for the Pitcher of the Year Award, presented annually by the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. The award, sponsored by Diamond, will be presented on June 29 in Lubbock as part of the annual Night of Champions. For more information on the Pitcher of the Year Award, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.
• JOHN OLERUD AWARD WATCH LIST: Brendan McKay
Lefty pitcher and first baseman Brendan McKay was named on April 22 to the watch list for the 2015 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, which honors the nation’s top player both on the mound and at the plate. The award is named for the former Washington State University standout who achieved success both as a first baseman and left-handed pitcher during the late 1980s, and who was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. The award will be presented as part of the Hall of Fame’s Night of Champions celebration, June 28-29 in Lubbock, Texas.
• STOPPER OF THE YEAR AWARD WATCH LIST: Zack Burdi
Zack Burdi was named on April 21 to the midseason watch list for the 11th annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award. Last season, Louisville’s Nick Burdi, the older brother of Zack, was chosen as the NCBWA Stopper of the Year after finishing with a school record 18 saves. The NCBWA will announce five finalists for the 2015 Stopper of the Year – the Division I national saves leader and four other relief pitching standouts – on Wednesday, June 3, prior to the start of NCAA Super Regional competition. The NCBWA’s All-America Committee will select the winner, with this year’s recipient to be announced during the 2015 College World Series.
• GOLDEN SPIKES AWARD WATCH LIST: Kyle Funkhouser & Brendan McKay
Junior righthander Kyle Funkhouser and freshman pitcher/first baseman Brendan McKay were named to the 60-player midseason USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list on April 9. Sponsored by Major League Baseball, and presented to the top amateur baseball player in the country in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, 2015 marks the 38th year of the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award. The watch list will continue to be a “rolling” list until May 27 — when the semifinalists for the award are announced — ensuring that athletes can play themselves into consideration for the award. On May 22, USA Baseball will announce the semifinalists for the 2015 Golden Spikes Award. The semifinalists list will be sent to a voting body consisting of past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of the media that follow the amateur game closely, select professional baseball personnel, current USA Baseball staff and the 37 previous winners of the award, representing a group of more than 200 voters. The 2015 Golden Spikes Award winner will be named on June 23, at a presentation in Los Angeles. The finalists and their families will be honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Dinner that evening at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles.
• JOHNNY BENCH AWARD WATCH LIST: Will Smith
On March 11, Louisville sophomore Will Smith was among 75 catchers named to the official watch list for the 2015 Johnny Bench Award presented by BaseballSavings.com. Because the award is given annually to the top division one collegiate catcher, the list will be updated to include other candidates until May 4. The watch list will be narrowed to the semifinalists on May 14, while the finalists will be announced June 2. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 18th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 25, 2015.
ROGERS CHOSEN AS ACC PITCHER OF THE WEEK ON APRIL 13
Sophomore lefty Josh Rogers was named ACC Pitcher of the Week on April 13. Making starts to open and close the week, Rogers went 2-0 with a pair of ACC road wins for the Cardinals. On April 6, the New Albany, Indiana native delivered seven shutout innings while allowing just three hits in a dominant effort at No. 14 Virginia to lead Louisville to a 4-0 win and complete a series sweep. Rogers earned his second victory in seven days on April 12 after striking out seven and allowing just one run in five innings in the Cardinals’ 11-1 triumph to clinch the series win at Duke.
RAY NAMED ACC PLAYER OF THE WEEK ON APRIL 6
Sophomore Corey Ray was chosen as the ACC Baseball Player of the Week on April 6. Ray hit .600 in three games during the week, finishing 9-for-15 with two home runs, nine RBIs, three doubles, six runs scored, two stolen bases and a 1.333 slugging percentage. After opening the week by going 3-for-5 with a home run, double, triple and four RBIs in a nonconference win over Miami (Ohio) on March 31, Ray kicked off the Cardinals’ series win at No. 9 Virginia by connecting for his first career grand slam in the seventh inning of an 8-1 triumph and finished 2-for-5 overall. The Chicago, Illinois, native kept things rolling on April 5 by going 4-for-5 with two doubles, two runs scored, one RBI and two stolen bases in an 11-4 victory over the Cavaliers.
CARDINALS COMPLETE MOST SUCCESSFUL MARCH IN SCHOOL HISTORY
Louisville finished with its highest winning percentage ever for the month of March after compiling a 16-3 record overall (.947 winning percentage) this season. The Cardinals surpassed the previous best record for March of 15-3 (.833) during the 1984 season, while the third highest winning percentage in the month came during the 2010 season when Louisville finished at 14-3. The month of March has proven to be a successful one for the Cardinals under the guidance of coach Dan McDonnell. Louisville has never finished with a losing record in the month while seven of the nine seasons they have won 13 or more games in March.
TEN CARDINALS MAKE COLLEGIATE DEBUTS IN 2015
A total of 10 Cardinals have made their collegiate debuts thus far in the 2015 season. During the Opening Weekend Challenge in Florida, Devin Hairston, Colby Fitch, Lincoln Henzman, Kade McClure, Brendan McKay and Blake Tiberi took the field for Louisville, while Butch Baird andSean Leland saw their first chances for the Cardinals in the series against Arkansas State. On Feb. 24, Chandler Dale became the ninth player to see action with a relief appearance against Butler. Junior Jimmy Faul became the 10th player with his pinch hit single against Boston College on March 14.
ACC, NATIONAL PITCHER OF THE WEEK HONORS FOR FUNKHOUSER
Kyle Funkhouser was chosen as the ACC Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 16 while also being named as a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball newspaper. He matched a career-high with 12 strikeouts and allowed just one hit in seven shutout innings to lead the Cardinals to a 5-1 season-opening win over Alabama State on Feb. 13 at the Opening Weekend Challenge. Funkhouser retired the final 20 batters he faced and equaled his strikeout total at Temple last May and improved to 19-4 in his collegiate career with the performance.