The University of Louisville baseball team returns home after seven straight on the road to take on Lipscomb on Tuesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET at Jim Patterson Stadium. The game will be televised on ACC Network Extra with radio coverage available on 93.9 The Ville and 970 WGTK.
ABOUT THE CARDINALS
Louisville lost two of three last weekend at NC State, salvaging the series with a 6-1 win in the finale on Sunday. Carson Liggett improved to 6-0 in the final game of the series, while Jack Payton and Patrick Forbes hit back-to-back homers to help lead the Cards.
The Cardinals now open up an eight-game homestand. Following Tuesday’s game against Lipscomb, Louisville will play seven straight home games against teams currently ranked among the top 10 nationally.
Louisville and Lipscomb have only met three times previously, with the Bisons winning all three. Lipscomb swept the Cardinals in a doubleheader back in 1977 and then defeated Louisville 6-2 last March. Jack Payton had two hits, while Cameron Robinson and Ryan Hawks combined to strike out nine in 4.1 innings of relief work.
- Louisville has an .856 winning percentage (149-25) in regular season non-conference games since the start of 2016, including a 120-13 (.902) mark in regular season non-conference home games.
- Louisville had just 12 stolen bases through the first 14 games, but has stolen 35 in the last 13.
- The Cardinals rank top 20 nationally in earned run average (3.56) and hits allowed per nine innings (7.38).
- The Cardinals have held the opposition to two runs or fewer 13 times through 27 games. Louisville limited opponents to two or less 14 times in 2022.
- Louisville has been excellent early in games this spring, outscoring opponents 81-27 in the first three innings.
- Through 27 games, the Cardinals have started 26 different batting orders and 23 different defensive alignments.
- Jack Payton finished with an ACC-best 23 doubles in 2022, but homered just four times. The junior is still racking up the doubles with seven already this season. However, Payton has shown more power this spring and matched his sophomore season total just 10 games into 2023. He recorded his first multi-homer game at Cincinnati, homering in the each of the first two innings, and currently leads the Cards with 14 multi-hit games including six with three hits.
- Gavin Kilen was selected in the 13th round of the 2022 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox but elected to come to Louisville. The freshman infielder has transitioned smoothly into the college game and currently ranks second on the team in batting average (.333) and doubles (five). Kilen has also stepped up his game in conference play, leading the Cardinals with a .393 average against ACC competition. He currently ranks as the toughest hitter to strike out in the ACC, going down on strikes just once every 12 at-bats.
- Christian Knapczyk is the catalyst at the top of the Louisville lineup and currently third in the ACC with 14 stolen bases and 12 HBPs. The junior has been on a tear on the basepaths lately, swiping 11 bags in the last 13 games. Knapczyk also ranks as the second-toughest hitter to strike out in the ACC with one strikeout per 11.1 at-bats.
- Carson Liggett earned the Sunday starting role to open the season and has been terrific through the first half of the season. The sophomore is 6-0 and turned in the best start of his college career against Michigan in the finale at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Liggett gave up just one hit over seven shutout innings in what turned out to be a complete-game effort as the Cards run-ruled Michigan. The right-hander has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his seven starts.
- Riley Phillips opened the season as the Saturday starter for the Cardinals, but moved to the bullpen after two starts. The southpaw has been an excellent option in a relief role this season, making six appearances with three runs allowed in 12.0 innings and tallying 21 strikeouts. Phillips struck out six of the eight batters he faced in 2.1 innings of work last week at Cincinnati.
- Tucker Biven has the ability to play both ways for the Cardinals, but his biggest impact so far has come on the mound. The right-hander has made seven relief appearances, four of which have been longer than one inning, and has allowed just two runs in 13 innings of work.
STARTING PITCHING CONTINUES TO GET JOB DONE
The Cardinals had a multitude of starting pitching options heading into the spring. However, Louisville has been pretty consistent with who has taken the ball to start games.
Ryan Hawks, Greg Farone, Carson Liggett and Kade Grundy have combined to start 24 of 27 games so far this season. The quartet has allowed three runs or fewer in 19 of those 24 starts, with 13 of those covering five innings or more.
Louisville starting pitchers have combined for a 3.44 ERA with 132 strikeouts in 128.1 innings and an opponents’ batting average of .221.