Neeli Bendapudi big hit in first game at Jim Patterson Stadium

Baseball Coach Dan McDonnell and President Neeli Bendapudi at her first University of Louisville baseball game (Charlie Springer photos).

Neeli Bendapudi was scheduled to throw out the first pitch at the University of Louisville – Indiana University baseball game on Tuesday.  A few days earlier, however, she had suffered a torn rotator cuff while unpacking at her new UofL home.

UofL softball pitcher Meagan Hensley threw out the first pitch for UofL President Neeli Bendapudi.

Meagan Hensley, a UofL softball pitcher, would happily throw the ball for Bendapudi at her first athletic event as the new University of Louisville President.  She was accompanied by her husband Venkat, a senior lecturer in the School of Business at Kansas University.

Bendapudi departed Jim Patterson Stadium shortly after the game started, presumably for other UofL business, only to return during the seventh inning. She was seen walking the steps in different areas of stadium, introducing herself to many of the 2,257 fans in attendance.

Venkat Bendapudi is a senior lecturer in the Business School at Kansas U.

People were eager to get to know her, letting her know how excited they were to have her in Louisville. Many of them wanting to have their pictures taken with her. Neeli, in return, happily posing with them, frequently throwing up the L sign, laughing, smiling, loving every minute of the interaction with the fans.

This observer actually had a couple of minutes before the game to chat with her, finding her to be engaging, warm and enthusiastic.  She makes a great first impression with everyone she meets, exuding a sincere and determined desire to do great things at UofL.

She’s clearly excited to be in Louisville and was busy cementing friendships for the University at her first UofL baseball game. Watch for her soon at a Louisville sporting event near you.

Neeli Bendapudi was everywhere in Jim Patterson stadium it seemed, engaging and getting to know UofL fans on her first day on the job.

Chris Mack with the first pitch

New University of Louisville Basketball Coach Chris Mack was on hand to throw out the first pitch for the University of Louisville-Western Kentucky baseball game Wednesday at Jim Patterson Field. Mack conferred with Athletic Director Vince Tyra and Baseball Coach Dan McDonnell beforehand. Tyra was behind the plate for the first pitch.

UofL won, 5-4, in a game that went three-and-a-half hours in damp, sub-50-degree weather. It was Louisville’s fifth straight win over WKU, improving UofL’s advantage to 72-69 in a series that dates back to 1924.

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 baseball overcomes Texas Tech, frigid temperatures

The reading on the temperature gauge indicating a chilly 28 degrees for Elementary School Day as the University of Louisville baseball team prepares for game two against Texas Tech.

The youngsters, in constant motion and seemingly unfazed by the cold weather, providing a noisy backdrop for a game between two highly-ranked teams.  But clearly not ideal conditions for pitchers, batters or other spectators.

Sam Bordner notches his seventh save in just 17 games.

Just ask Reid Detmers, a 6-2 left handed freshman pitcher for UofL, trying to fight off the frigid temperatures. He will walk two of the first three batters and give up a home run to the fifth, giving the visiting Red Raiders a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

Not a good start, especially with UofL having lost in the opener of the two-game set. The Cardinals will battle back with Jake Snider slamming a triple and scoring on a sacrifice by Devin Mann. They will make up more ground with Josh Stowers collecting his first home run of the season in the fifth inning. 

Louisville would push three runs across the plate in the sixth to take the lead, with contributions from Logan Wyatt, Tyler Fitzgerald, Pat Rumero, Tyler Fitzgerald and Snider. UofL would prevail by a score of 7-4, improving its overall record to 15-2.

Bobby Miller, a 6-2 right hander, would earn the win, taking the mound in the fifth inning, striking out five batters and allowing no Red Raiders to reach base in three-and-a-third innings.  It was the third win for the freshman from McHenry,Ill.

Junior right hander Sam Bordner would complete the shutdown with a perfect ninth inning, striking out all three batters for his seventh save of the season. Bordner has a scoreless streak of 21.0 innings dating back to last season.