The second-ranked Louisville baseball team begins a five-game homestand with the contest in this year’s Battle of the Bluegrass as No. 8 Kentucky visits Jim Patterson Stadium on Tuesday at 6 p.m., ET. The game will be televised on ACC Network Extra, while radio coverage will be provided by 93.9 The Ville.
ABOUT THE KENTUCKY WILDCATS
Kentucky enters the week at 21-8 overall and 7-2 in the SEC after earning a series win at home against Vanderbilt last weekend. The Wildcats have won six of their last seven games and have won all three SEC series under first year head coach Nick Mingione. The pitching coach for the Wildcats is UofL alumnus Jim Belanger, who pitched for the Cardinals in 2007 and 2008. Last season, UK was 32-25 overall and fourth in the SEC East with a 15-15 conference record.
Louisville is 40-61-1 all-time against Kentucky in a series dating back to 1925. The Cardinals have won five straight against the Wildcats, including a sweep of the regular season series in each of the last two years and three straight wins at Patterson Stadium. Last season, the Cardinals earned a 9-6 win in Lexington and a 7-6 win in Louisville, their second straight walk-off win at home against UK.
TEAM NOTES AND TRENDS
• Louisville entered the weekend as one of just two teams in the nation (St. John’s is the other) ranked in the top 21 in the NCAA in both ERA (fifth) and batting average (21st).
• The Cardinals have won 36 straight regular season home games at Jim Patterson Stadium with the most recent regular season loss coming to No. 9 Virginia on March 25, 2016.
• UofL has also won 30 straight regular season weekend series at home dating back to 2013.
• A season after setting a school record for highest fielding percentage (.978), Louisville has maintained a similar pace in 2017 with 22 errors in 27 games for a .978 fielding percentage.
• The Cardinals have allowed two or fewer earned runs in 17 of 27 games this season after accomplishing the feat in 36 of 64 games last season. They allowed two or fewer earned runs in 36 of 65 games in 2015, 40 of 67 games in 2014 and 36 of 65 games in 2013.
• Louisville has finished with 10 or more hits in 17 of 27 games this season.
• In 12 ACC games, the Cardinals pitching staff has a 2.61 ERA with 105 strikeouts in 107.0 innings of work.
• The UofL bullpen has a 2.05 ERA and 13-0 record with 111 strikeouts in 114.0 innings pitched while opponents are hitting just .181 overall.
• Louisville is 49-of-56 on stolen base attempts this season (14th in NCAA) after finishing 101-of-126 in 2016 (12th nationally). The Cardinals were fourth nationally with 127 stolen bases in 2015, second in the nation in 2014 with 133 and second in 2013 with 150.
• The Cardinals ended last season second in the nation in hits allowed per nine innings, third in hits, third in sacrifice flies, third in shutouts, fifth in ERA, sixth in batting average, sixth in doubles, sixth in slugging percentage, sixth in WHIP, ninth in runs scored, 12th in stolen bases, 15th in fielding percentage, 15th in on-base percentage, 15th in strikeouts per nine innings, 19th in home runs, 20th in scoring, 21st in strikeout-to-walk ratio, 25th in hit by pitch and 26th in triples.
• While at the helm in Louisville, McDonnell has guided the Cardinals to three College World Series berths, six NCAA Super Regional appearances, nine NCAA Regional bids, seven regular season conference championships, two conference tournament titles and 29 All-Americans.
PLAYER NOTES AND TRENDS
• Brendan McKay: Recorded career-high 15 strikeouts in March 10 win over Pittsburgh and has finished with eight or more strikeouts 22 times in collegiate career.
• Two-way standout is eighth in the NCAA in on-base percentage, 16th in batting average, 18th in the nation among pitchers in strikeouts and 23rd in ERA.
• In 20 pitching starts at Jim Patterson Stadium, McKay is 18-1 with a 1.41 ERA (21 earned runs in 134.0 IP) and 169 strikeouts.
• In 25 career appearances on the mound at home (including 20 starts), McKay is 19-1 with four saves, a 1.35 ERA (21 earned runs in 140.0 IP) and 176 strikeouts.
• Has reached base in 24 of 27 games played in 2017 while delivering 13 multi-hit outings.
• Kade McClure: Has 16-2 career record… Won 12 of 13 starts last season and was tied for fifth nationally in victories… Was also in the top 10 in the nation in WHIP and hits allowed per 9 IP while earning All-America honors last season.
• Nick Bennett: Has won three of five career collegiate starts… Ranks fourth in the ACC in ERA and third in WHIP… Allowed one hit and registered seven strikeouts while facing the minimum of 18 batters for first career victory in first ever start against Eastern Michigan on March 3.
• Lincoln Henzman: Ranks 13th nationally with seven save… Opened 2017 with 13.1 consecutive innings of scoreless relief… Has 17 strikeouts with just three walks in 17.2 innings pitched.
• Logan Taylor: 5-for-16 with five walks, two HBPs, six stolen bases and eight runs scored in first inning this season (all as leadoff hitter)… 16th in NCAA with 14 stolen bases… Has reached base safely in 22 of 23 starts this season… Played in 201 career games with 104 starts.
• Colby Fitch: Named to 2017 Johnny Bench Award Watch List… Second on team with 11 multi-hit games this season… Has started 20 of 17 games at catcher while starting other seven games at designated hitter… Hit four of five home runs, 22 of 25 RBI in his 27 starts last season.
• Devin Hairston: 31 straight games without an error (dating back to 2016)… Career-best five RBI in three-hit game vs. Fort Wayne on March 8… Leads team with 30 RBI and eight multi-RBI games… Started all 64 games in 2016 earning All-America and All-ACC honors.
• Drew Ellis: Has reached base safely in 25 of 27 games… Leads team with eight doubles to go with five home runs… Hit first career grand slam on March 1 against Morehead State… Had 30 starts last season in left field, one at third and one at second base.
• Josh Stowers: Has started 17 straight games and hit safely in 14 of those… Had two-hit outing and one RBI in first career start on Feb. 18 against No. 22 Maryland.
• Colin Lyman: Hit first career home run and had career-best three hits on March 1 against Morehead State… Had 47 starts and 60 games played last season… 184 career appearances.
• Devin Mann: Homered in final two games of NC State series… Has reached base safely in 20 of 26 games this season… Hit .307 with eight doubles, 16 RBI and 13 runs in 19 starts last season.