Oriente hitting streak continues, Louisville nips Virginia

Danny Oriente creating a niche for himself with an 11-game hitting streak for the Louisville baseball team.

Danny Oriente was pretty much an unknown quantity for University of Louisville baseball fans coming into this season. The UofL sophomore missed almost all last season after being injured on the opening weekend.

Not unknown to Coach Dan McDonnell, of course, who won a heated recruited battle for the highly-touted Illinois all-stater. The 5-foot-11 sophomore has been on fire lately as the designated hitter, living up to his coach’s expectations 

Oriente has hit safely in 11 straight games, with 20 hits in 39 at bats for a hefty 512 batting average in those 11 games. He has raised his average to 347 overall, second only to Logan Wyatt at 352.

He answered the call three times in Friday’s first game against Virginia with two hits in three at-bats while driving in four runs. It was his double in the bottom of the eighth, driving in Wyatt and Josh Stowers, that was the deciding blow in a 5-4 win over the visiting Cavaliers.

Another nice performance by starting pitcher Adam Wolf, who gave up four runs and seven hits during seven innings. The win, however, went to Bryan Hoeing (4-1) and the save to Shay Smiddy, his first this season.

Louisville makes it look almost too easy in win over Kentucky

Minimum suspense, almost too easy.

Rivalry games between the universities of Louisville and Kentucky are almost always go down to the wire. Not on Tuesday, not with UofL coasting to an easy 8-2 decision over the visiting Wildcats in front of 3,806 at Jim Patterson Stadium.

Kentucky was ranked sixth in the nation in one poll, having lost eight of their last 11 games against the Cardinals, including all four games last season. Highly motivated, but mostly frustrated in this one.

Oh, there was some drama, with UK right hander Jimmy Ramsey, a 6-foot-7  freshman, throwing a ball at Devin Mann’s head, striking him in the neck, in the bottom of the sixth. Disbelief from everyone, one of those moments when chaos could have erupted. Mann glaring at Ramsey, catching his breath, thinking about it, making the right decision, and taking the base without incident.

Louisville putting up two runs in the fourth inning, four in the fifth, and two more in the sixth for all of its eight runs. The big hit a two-run blast by Jake Snider in the decisive fifth inning. Snider would win up with three hits, two runs and two runs batted in. No bad for the son of Eric Snider, the hitting coach.

Another clutch performance by Danny Oriente, the designated hitter, coming through with two hits, including a double and a single, and two runs batted. First baseman Logan Wyatt kept under wraps by the Wildcats, reaching base four times, all on bases on balls.

UK could manage only three hits off of five Louisville pitchers, with starter Reid Detmers getting his second win. UofL had nine hits off of seven Kentucky hurlers.

The win improved UofL’s won-lost record to 25-11, and UK is now 25-12. Next up for the Cardinals is a three-game series against Virginia, with the first game at 6 p.m. on Friday.

Louisville fans loving Friday night spring football

The north end zone expansion awaits the addition of 5,000 to 6,000 new red seats.

As fate would have it, the University of Louisville’s spring football game would be on a perfect Friday night, one of the few the city has experienced this year with temperatures hovering in the upper seventies. A steady light breeze as a bonus.

This Louisville fan was covering all the bases, bringing baby to his first football game, along with Coke and hotdogs. No way was he staying home on a Friday night, with only one football event between now and September.

An enthusiastic crowd that was every bit of the estimated 17,200 on hand despite the short notice of the game being rescheduled from Saturday afternoon to a day earlier. Should be a lesson in that for the planners, UofL people loving their football on Friday nights. Definitely better than noon on Saturdays, eh?

The south of the Green Lot was one huge party with UofL fraternities and sororities out en masse, sound systems going full blast. Impressive display of Greek life on display.

Many fans also got their first look at the stadium expansion, towering heavenward in the north end. Cardinal Stadium is indeed coming full circle, and the addition is going to be magnificent when people are circulating in the new VIP lounges and all the extra red seats.

The real attraction, however, was the debut of Jawon Pass as starting quarterback. Despite a bumpy start, he fumbled once and threw one interception, Pass completed 26 of 37 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Red team to a 42-13 victory over the White squad.

Stealing the show was Dez Fitzpatrick who made some unbelievable catches, including one that he had to snatch out of the hands of a defender. The redshirt sophomore had eight catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns.

Senior tight end Mickey Crum, looking improved, more confident, caught eight passes as well for 90 yards and another touchdown. Freshman receiver Tutu Atwell had six receptions for 73 yards.

Backup quarterback Malik Cunningham was impressive as well, completing 14 of 18 attempts for 117 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 52 yards on 11 carries.

One got the impression that UofL’s offense will not be so predictable and will be much more flexible with more options with Pass calling signals. No one will ever replace Lamar Jackson for excitement but the overall effort may be more consistent.  Debatable, of course, remaining to be seen.

What was obvious, however, was the Louisville fans were eager to see what had been going on behind all those closed practices and they love those Friday night lights.

Attend every UofL game with the Golden Ticket

Two tickets to every University of Louisville basketball and football game during the 2018-19 season? How about the Oaks and Kentucky Derby in May? The Louisville Bats’ season? The Quaker State 400?

That’s what’s up for grabs in the Louisville Sports Commission’s annual Golden Ticket raffle. Only 400 chances are available at $100 each, with proceeds going to the LSC’s ongoing efforts to attract top-flight sports events to the community.

Not that Card Game would encourage it, but the winner would also have the option of selecting UK tickets. Two tickets to the 2019 Paul Hornung Award Banquet would also be included. 

Click HERE to purchase your ticket.

UofL Trustees cleared some obstacles for Bendapudi

While much has been made of all the time needed to hire the new President, the University of Louisville Board of Trustees was not wasting any time filling some other key positions. A number of their recent actions will enable Neeli Bendapudi to focus on other priorities when she assumes the office on May 15th.

Bendapudi had to be pleased that the Vince Tyra has already been hired as Athletic Director and that Tyra had named Chris Mack as Head Basketball Coach.  Starting from scratch wasn’t an option, the positions needing to be filled quickly to avoid losing basketball players from the current team.

Marketing expertise is exactly what the University of Louisville needs right now, and Bendapudi is uniquely qualified to provide the leadership ...

But there were other openings, equally if not more important to the University, that needed to be addressed. 

Just this week UofL announced the choice for the new Dean of the J.B. Speed Engineering School, vacated by Neville Pinto who filled in f0r the UofL Presidency on an interim basis before becoming President at the University of Cincinnati. Emmanuel Collins, chairman of mechanical engineering at Florida A&M-Florida State, will be Dean starting July 1.

An appointment that didn’t get much attention a while back was that of Colin Crawford as the 24th dean of the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law.  Previously he had served as a professor of environmental law at Tulane University. He has a law degree from Harvard Law School and degrees in modern history from Cambridge and Columbia Universities. 

With so many key positions already filled, Bendapudi will be able to turn her attention to marketing and fundraising, which are her areas of expertise. The direction of the school’s fundraising efforts is in limbo, with Bryan Robinson, who last year succeeded Keith Inman as Interim Vice President for Advancement, having resigned in February.

Before becoming Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor at Kansas, she was Dean of the School of Business, where she increased  undergraduate enrollment in the school by 62 percent, improved undergraduate job placement from 55 percent to 77 percent, and oversaw almost $200 million in fundraising for the school.  She also received many department, school and national teaching awards.

With the appointment of a woman, a person of color, and an individual with a foreign heritage, the UofL Board of Trustees has scored a major public relations victory with the liberal mainstream media. The media agenda of advancing diversity for the sole purpose of diversity is clear, and these advantages can not be overstated.

Marketing expertise is exactly what the University of Louisville needs right now, and Bendapudi is uniquely qualified to provide the leadership that has been sorely missing over the last two years.  The new President has a strong track record of success and, early indications are that she is supremely confident, has amazing enthusiasm, and is determined that UofL will be a much greater university.