Kade McClure grooving again, UofL thumps Toledo

Kade McClure was back to his old self Saturday, the big right hander yielding only six hits and one run as the University of Louisville baseball team kayoed Toledo 11-1.

Seven days ago McClure had struggled mightily against Duke, giving up three hits, two walks, and a hit batsman, watching four runs crossing the plate in the fourth inning before getting the hook.  The only good thing in that two-run victory was that he was the winning pitcher.

He would allow only six batters to reach base in his most recent outing, improving his won-lost record to 5-1 before a crowd of 1,746 at Jim Patterson Stadium. The win enhanced UofL’s record to 37-6 

The decisive hit in this one coming in the third inning, courtesy of third baseman Tyler Fitzgerald’s bases-loaded single two runs across the plate. Drew Ellis would hit his team-leading 13th home run in the fourth inning, the baseball sailing high over the left field fence.

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Two home runs for Josh Stowers, powering UofL past Toledo

Josh Stowers got the first and second home runs in his career in the win over Toledo.

Josh Stowers has exhibited some power during his first season as a starter with the University of Louisville baseball team. Lots of long balls but many of them for long outs, not reflecting his true potential.

He could not have picked a better day than Friday to take his game to another level, on a day when UofL was struggling in the opening game of a three-game series with Toledo.

The 6-foot sophomore outfielder from Chicago would combine for two powerful home runs over the left field wall to power Louisville to a razor thin 5-4 win over the Rockets. 

The first one, a solo blast, coming in the fifth inning with UofL trailing 4-0. He would follow that up with a towering home run over the same wall in the seventh inning, driving three runs, to tie the score at 4-4.

That would set the stage for a sacrifice fly to right center bye Drew Ellis in the eighth inning, sending Devin Hairston home with the winning run.

The home runs were the first and second for Stowers in his collegiate career.

Nobody was happier for Stowers than left hander Brendan McKay, who won his first game in his past four tries, improving his won-lost record to 6-3. The win improved UofL record to 36-6.

Stowers was last seen with Dan McDonnell’s game-winning T-shirt award, with the No. 36 for the 36th win, hanging over his shoulder. 

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Keep Papa John under control at UofL board meetings

John Schnatter went a couple of hours without saying a word, at least during the public portion of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees meeting this week. Not easy for someone accustomed to being treated as near royalty in his hometown. 

And it was quite a contrast from a week before when he exhibited little self control, ranting about the UofL athletic department and another expansion of Cardinal Stadium. 

One wonders why Schnatter had reason to be upset? The athletic department has bent over backward to keep the Pizza magnate happy. Setting aside a special place for him to land his helicopter during football games at Cardinal Stadium. Allowing him to race his 1971 Camaro into the complex, wheels spinning, burning rubber. The football program also allowing him to completely cover the roof of the Brown & Williamson Club with the Papa John’s logo.

Interim President Greg Postel and Chairman David Grissom have their hands full already, even without John Schnatter’s antics.

Schnatter’s demeanor during the recent board meeting makes one suspect that someone may have finally denied him one of his outlandish wishes. Some sources believe his antagonism could date back to the second phase of the stadium expansion, possibly some special concessions on the party deck. 

Schnatter’s ego apparently knows no bounds. Would anyone be surprised if his next big request had been a sculpture of Papa John on the party deck? Making a special delivery no doubt. Not out of the question. He lives in a virtual castle and he referred to the football facility as “My stadium” during the board meeting. 

The strained look on his face during the trustees’ meeting made it appear as though he had been asked to remain quiet. This at a time when the University of Louisville is in need of positive reinforcement and constructive leadership. Had to be really difficult for him to hear Interim President Greg Postel describe Tom Jurich’s great success with the athletic program and assurance that the stadium expansion is well within budget.

Someone had obviously gotten to Schnatter, letting him know that his ranting was out of line, making him look foolish, embarrassing his fellow board members. This coming a day before it was announced that Schnatter had resigned from the board of the UofL Athletic Association and had been immediately replaced by university trustee James Rogers.

A long-time member of the University community, who wishes to remain unnamed, sees the fine hand of Trustees’ Chairman J. David Grissom at work in Schnatter’s resignation.

“It is not Schnatter’s style to resign for the good of the organization,” said the source. “My guess is that Grissom took him off the board because Schnatter is unpredictable in his rhetoric. Why else would another board appointment be made so quickly?

“This may have been one reason for the closed session at the Trustees’ meeting. Grissom does not want the wrath of Tom Jurich’s many supporters. Running Tom off would be the biggest mistake made by anyone. 

“Grissom also will not tolerate any trustee speaking to the media without his approval. Remember Schnatter’s parting comment on Wednesday, words to the effect that Grissom has it under control.”

Presumably that means Grissom will not tolerate any misdirection or outbursts at future Trustee meetings, especially from John Schnatter. 

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Trial run at Slugger Field good move for UofL baseball

Sophomore Zeke Pinkham is congratulated by his UofL teammates after his first career home run,  a two-run blast, putting the Cards on top (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

A trial run was held for the University of Louisville baseball team at Slugger Field on Wednesday, giving the Cardinals and their fans a chance to get used to the venue before the ACC tournament in late May.

Good idea. There are many differences between Jim Patterson Stadium and the home base for the Louisville Bats. A taste of a professional baseball venue for UofL players. So much commercialism at Slugger Field, over the top, actually, with advertising on almost every conceivable surface, including the outfield fences and the video boards.

Some stadium enhancements would be nice before the ACC tournament rolls around, including the sound system. The stadium announcer could barely be heard on the second level and Al Greener’s portable keyboard was nowhere near as robust as the organ at Jim Patterson Stadium.

Continue reading “Trial run at Slugger Field good move for UofL baseball”

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Moore transferring, breaking more than a few UofL hearts

Mariya Moore is transferring, taking lots of good memories with her (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Mariya Moore broke more than a few hearts when the news broke of her decision to leave the University of Louisville women’s basketball team. Like the girlfriend who breaks up without giving any reason, shaking one’s self-confidence.

Happy trails to Mariya Moore.

Hard to believe she’s gone, with all she’s been through in three seasons. She and Myisha Hines-Allen were team leaders during their sophomore and junior years, seemingly synonymous with UofL women’s basketball, ready for a big senior year.

A reminder that while “Louisville First, Cards Forever” is a good slogan, the players, often from distant locations, often have other priorities. The suggestion here is that Mariya wanted to be closer to her family in California. 

No indications of where she will wind up playing next. She could possibly wind up at St. Mary’s College, a Catholic liberal arts institution in Moraga, Calif.. where her grandfather and an uncle played basketball. Coincidentally her sister, Minyan, is transferring from Southern Cal after only one season there. 

The only hint of any discontent for Mariya was a one-game suspension in late February, with no explanation forthcoming. Moore started 36 games this season, averaging 12 points per outing, winding up with 1,365 points over three seasons.

One of Mariya’s most memorable games may have been her final game at the KFC Yum! Center. She would connect on five of five 3-point attempts, for 19 points to lead UofL to 74-65 win over a resurging University of Tennessee in the second round the NCAA tournament.

During her inaugural 2014-15 season, she would score 28 points in a victory over North Carolina. The next season she would lead UofL to a come-from-behind win at North Carolina State, scoring 24 points of 31 points in the second half.

For whatever reason, Moore was not invested in completing her career at UofL. That’s unfortunate for Mriya’s UofL fans, but hopefully her exit provides more opportunity for others committed to making the program reach the next level.  

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Cierra Johnson and Brianna Jones are transferring, too, both of them looking for more playing time. Johnson, a freshman becomes the second 6-foot-3 plus player to transfer in the past two years, following in the footsteps of Erin DeGrate. Jones played sparingly during three seasons at UofL.

 

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