The No. 4 Louisville baseball team faces a nationally ranked opponent in a weekend series for the fourth time this season as they visit No. 5 Florida State for a three-game set between the top two clubs in the ACC Atlantic Division. The Cardinals and Seminoles are slated for Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m., ET each day, while Sunday’s weekend finale is set for 1 p.m. All three games will be televised by ESPN3, while radio coverage will be provided by 93.9 The Ville. Live stats for all Louisville baseball games are available at GoCards.com.
Ranked No. 4 in each of this week’s major national polls, Louisville has won six straight games while outscoring its opponents 73-11 during that stretch. Through four weeks of ACC action, the Cardinals are in second place in the Atlantic Division with a 9-3 record with a visit to division leader and fifth-ranked Florida State looming this weekend. On the mound, Louisville has seven shutouts (No. 1 nationally) while allowing two or fewer earned runs in 17 of its 28 outings this season. Entering the week, the pitching staff is ranked second in the nation in ERA at 2.23 and second in hits allowed per nine innings at 6.15. Offensively, the Cardinals are third nationally with a .331 team batting average, seventh in on-base percentage at .420 and eighth in scoring at 8.6 runs per game.
ABOUT THE SEMINOLES
Florida State, ranked as highly as No. 5 in this week’s Collegiate Baseball newspaper poll, is 20-7 overall after splitting two midweek games with Texas Tech and 7-1 in the ACC while four of its last six conference games have been cancelled due to inclement weather. Under head coach Mike Martin, in his 37th season at the helm, the Seminoles were 44-21 last season and finished second in the ACC Atlantic with a 17-13 conference record. FSU won the ACC Tournament and advanced to an NCAA Super Regional finishing 0-2 at Florida before closing the season ranked No. 12 in the final Collegiate Baseball newspaper poll.
Louisville trails 19-5 in the all-time series with Florida State, which dates back to 1977. The Cardinals and Seminoles competed as Metro Conference from 1977 to 1991 with FSU winning 17 of the 20 games during that era. Last season, the teams split four games as Louisville won two of three meetings at Jim Patterson Stadium during the regular season while Florida State won the pool play finale at the ACC Championship. The Cardinals are 2-7 all-time in Tallahassee and are making their first visit to the capital city since dropping two of three in 1991.
GAME DAY INFORMATION
#4 Louisville at #5 Florida State
Location: Tallahassee, Fla.
Venue: Dick Howser Stadium (6,700)
Twitter Updates: @UofLBaseball
Series History: Louisville trails 19-5 all-time
Game Notes: Louisville | Florida State
TEAM NOTES AND TRENDS
• Collectively, the Cardinals are hitting .331 (third nationally) with five players hitting .342 or better while starting at least 19 games.
• Louisville has won 161 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 53-of-64 on stolen bases this season (14th nationally) continuing the aggressive approach from head coach Dan McDonnell. Louisville was fourth nationally with 127 stolen bases last season, second in the nation in 2014 with 133 and second in 2013 with 150.
• Conversely, Louisville’s opponents are just 9-for-23 on stolen bases this season as Will Smith has allowed just five of 14 attempts.
• Louisville has allowed two or fewer earned runs in 17 of 28 game this season, a feat achieved in 36 of 65 games last season. In 2014, they did it in 40 of 67 games, while in 2013, they accomplished the task in 36 of 65 games.
• The Cardinals are also second in the nation in hits allowed per 9 IP surrendering just 6.15, second in ERA (2.23), third in sacrifice flies (19), fourth in WHIP (1.05), fifth in doubles (70), sixth in slugging (.505), seventh in on-base percentage (.420), eight in scoring (8.6 runs per game), 15th in fielding percentage (.978), 17th in strikeouts per 9 IP (9.2), 24th in triples (11) and 24th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.81).
PLAYER NOTES AND TRENDS
Corey Ray: Ray is second in the nation with 26 stolen bases (on 30 attempts) this season, 10th in the nation with his nine home runs, 15th nationally with 36 RBI and 15th in total bases (79).
• 11 of Ray’s 21 career home runs have either tied the score or given Louisville a lead.
• Ray leads the Cardinals with 11 multiple RBI games this season.
• In the first inning this season (all in the leadoff spot), Ray is hitting .370 with three home runs and nine runs scored.
Nick Solak: Solak had reached base safely in 33 straight games dating back to last season before streak was ended on March 25 against Virginia after departing in the third inning with a bone bruise on his right hand.
• Solak ranks sixth nationally in on-base percentage (.564), ninth in hitting with a .455 average and 33rd with 28 runs scored.
• In four games from March 8-12, Solak hit .471 with four RBI, five runs scored, four stolen bases and a game-winning walk-off home run in the 11th inning against Notre Dame on March 11.
Blake Tiberi: Tiberi leads the team with 14 multiple-hit games and is second on the team with seven multiple-RBI games this season.
• Tiberi connected for two home runs in the series at Miami on March 18-20 and has eight career home runs.
Devin Hairston: In his last eight games, Hairston is hitting .412 with three doubles, nine RBI and 13 runs scored.
Will Smith: In his last eight starts, Smith is hitting .577 with three doubles, six RBI and 10 runs scored.
Colby Fitch: Fitch has hit safely in 12 of the 13 games he has started this season and has a .455 average with four doubles, three home runs, 13 RBI and 12 runs scored in those 13 starts.
Brendan McKay: McKay has recorded eight or more strikeouts in six of his seven starts this season and has finished with eight or more strikeouts 13 times in his career. On March 11, he had a career-best 13 strikeouts against Notre Dame, the most for a Louisville pitchers since 2003.
• McKay ranks third in the nation with 61 strikeouts this season.
• In 17 career appearances on the mound at home (including 12 starts), McKay is 12-0 with four saves, a 1.35 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 86.1 innings pitched.
• In his 12 collegiate starts at Patterson Stadium, McKay is 11-0 with a 1.45 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 80.1 innings.
Drew Harrington: Harrington has won five straight starts and has not allowed a run in five of his seven starts this season.
Kyle Funkhouser: Funkhouser is Louisville’s career leader in wins (29), strikeouts (324), innings pitched (329.1) and starts (48). He also holds the school record for single season wins with 13 in 2014.
Kade McClure: McClure has won all six midweek starts this season and leads the nation in WHIP at 0.61 and ranks third in hits allowed per 9 IP (3.55).
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