For the fifth time in nine weekends, the No. 6 Louisville baseball team matches up with a ranked foe as No. 16 Clemson visits Jim Patterson Stadium for a three-game series starting Friday at 6 p.m., ET. The Cardinals and Tigers are also slated for Saturday at 4 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. The first two games of the series will be streamed on CardsTV, while Sunday afternoon’s weekend finale will be televised by ESPN3. Radio coverage for the series will be provided by 93.9 The Ville, while live stats for all Louisville games are available at GoCards.com.
Ranked No. 6 in this week’s Collegiate Baseball newspaper poll, Louisville remained unbeaten in its midweek games in 2016 with a 9-6 victory at No. 9 Kentucky on Wednesday night and a 14-2 win against Western Kentucky on Tuesday evening. At the midpoint of the ACC schedule, the Cardinals are second in the Atlantic Division with a 10-5 record. On the mound, Louisville has seven shutouts (No. 1 nationally) while allowing two or fewer earned runs in 18 of its 32 outings. Entering the weekend, the pitching staff is ranked seventh in the nation in hits allowed per nine innings at 6.90 and 14th in ERA at 2.95. Offensively, the Cardinals are fourth nationally with a .328 team batting average, sixth in scoring at 8.5 runs per game and seventh in on-base percentage at .418.
ABOUT THE TIGERS
Clemson enters the weekend at 24-9 overall following a 7-6 win over Western Carolina on Tuesday night and 8-7 in the ACC after losing two of three at Duke last weekend. Under first year head coach Monte Lee, the Tigers are paced offensively by freshman Seth Beer, who is hitting .425 with 14 home runs and 39 RBI. Last season, Clemson was 32-29 overall after advancing to the NCAA Fullerton Regional and was fourth in the ACC Atlantic with a 16-13 record.
Louisville is 2-8 all-time against Clemson in a series dating back to 1970. The Cardinals were 2-2 last season against the Tigers earning a road series win at Doug Kingsmore Stadium before suffering a loss at the ACC Championship. This weekend will mark Clemson’s first ever visit to Louisville.
GAME DAY INFORMATION (Promotions)
#6 Louisville vs. #16 Clemson
Location: Louisville, Ky.
Venue: Jim Patterson Stadium (4,000)
Twitter Updates: @UofLBaseball
Series History: Louisville trails 2-8 all-time
Game Notes: Louisville | Clemson
Since opening the gates at Jim Patterson Stadium in 2005, the Cardinals have won more than 76 percent of their games in the ballpark posting a 297-91 record (.765 winning percentage), including a 20-1 mark this season at the corner of Third and Central.
TEAM NOTES AND TRENDS
• Louisville is No. 6 in this week’s NCAA RPI rankings and among nine Atlantic Coast Conference schools in the top 44 spots.
• Collectively, the Cardinals are hitting .328 (fourth nationally) with seven players hitting .305 or better while starting at least 17 games.
• Louisville has won 164 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 57-of-70 on stolen bases this season (22nd 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 12-for-27 on stolen bases this season as Will Smith has allowed just seven of 16 attempts.
• Louisville has allowed two or fewer earned runs in 18 of 32 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 fourth in the nation in doubles (84), sixth in scoring (8.5 runs per game), seventh in hits allowed per 9 IP surrendering just 6.90, eighth in slugging (.502), ninth in on-base percentage (.418), 13th in WHIP (1.16), 14th in ERA (2.95), 15th in triples (14), 19th in sacrifice flies (19), 22nd in strikeouts per 9 IP (9.0) and 23rd in fielding percentage (.978).
PLAYER NOTES AND TRENDS
Corey Ray: Ray is third in the nation with 28 stolen bases (on 33 attempts) this season, 27th nationally with his nine home runs, 29th in total bases (84) and 30th with 39 RBI.
• 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 .375 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.
Blake Tiberi: Tiberi leads the team with 18 multiple-hit games and is second on the team with nine multiple-RBI games this season.
Devin Hairston: In his last 13 games, Hairston is hitting .411 with a home run, four doubles, 14 RBI and 22 runs scored.
Will Smith: In his last 11 starts, Smith is hitting .485 with three doubles, seven RBI and 12 runs scored.
Colby Fitch: Fitch has hit safely in 16 of the 18 games he has started this season and has a .441 average with four home runs, five doubles, 18 RBI and 18 runs scored in those 18 starts.
Brendan McKay: McKay has recorded eight or more strikeouts in six of his eight 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 15th in the nation with 65 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 six straight starts and has not allowed a run in five of his seven starts this season.
• Harrington leads the nation with seven wins, ranks 11th in the nation with his 1.22 ERA and is 23rd nationally in WHIP (0.87).
• In five ACC starts, Harrington is 5-0 with a 0.79 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 34.1 innings.
Kyle Funkhouser: Funkhouser is Louisville’s career leader in wins (29), strikeouts (328), innings pitched (332.2) and starts (49). He also holds the school record for single season wins with 13 in 2014.
Kade McClure: McClure has won all seven midweek starts this season ranking No.1 in the nation in wins and is 11th in the nation in WHIP at 0.80 and 11th in hits allowed per 9 IP (4.83).