Louisville baseball sets attendance mark during 2016 season

UofL fans depart Jim Patterson Stadium following final game but before setting an all-time attendance record.
UofL fans depart Jim Patterson Stadium following a loss in the final game but not before setting an all-time attendance record.

“I’m really proud of our fans. I was hoping we were give them one more day, one more game.”

One more game may have gotten Dan McDonnell’s baseball team into its fourth College World Series. One more out, a couple more strikes, a few less balls. What could have been.

The good news is the University of Louisville baseball team broke the 100,000 mark in attendance for the first time in the program’s history during the 2016 season.

UofL baseballThe Cardinals attracted a total of 101,415 for 39 games, including five NCAA tournament games, or an average of 2,600 spectators per game. Total attendance for the NCAA regional games was 22,461 or 4,492 per game.

Total attendance for 34 regular season games was 78,874 or 2,330 persons per game.

The second game in a three-game series against Clemson on April 16 drew the largest crowd of the season, a total of 4,950 fans.

Second largest was 4,784 in the Super Regional final against Santa Barbara, followed by 4,770 against Western Michigan in the first game of the Regional, 4,642 against Kentucky, and 4,634 for the first game of the Super Regional against Santa Barbara.

Petrino salutes Louisville football fans

Bobby-PetrinoA grateful Bobby Petrino expressed his appreciation to University of Louisville fans for their unprecedented support during the first year of his second term as the UofL football coach — a level of support that set two important all-time marks.

A total of 55,428 fans set the single game record against the University of Miami in the opening game, and average attendance was 52,971 for six home games.

The open letter, which first appeared in the Courier-Journal, also acknowledges the 15,000 fans who traveled to South Bend for UofL’s first-ever appearance against Notre Dame.


Louisville Soccer leads nation in attendance, meets Ohio State

The University of Louisville  is leading the nation in college soccer attendance, averaging 5,193 fans per game.

Coach Ken Lolla
Coach Ken Lolla

Attendance has remained strong since the opening game when 7,047 witnessed a 1-0 win over then-ranked No. 2 Maryland in the first official men’s game in the new Dr. Mark & Cindy Lynn Stadium.  Maryland is second in attendance at 4,592 per match, while UConn is third at 4,038.

Ohio State arrives in Louisville for the 19th meeting between the two schools Tuesday at 7:30. The match is the 19th meeting between the schools in soccer. The series is tied 7-7-4.

Louisville, which has a 5-1-1 mark overall and is undefeated (3-0)in ACC action,  started a four-game winning streak with a 5-0 victory at home against Duke, followed by wins over Boston College, Kentucky and Pittsburgh.  Ohio State is 2-3-3.


Petrino ignites fireworks at Louisville spring game

James Quick scores quickly on a 62-yard pass play.
James Quick scores quickly on a Will Gardner pass play covering 62 yards. 

A game day feel to this year’s University of Louisville football spring game, the Green Lot already two-thirds full two hours before kickoff, many fans more than ready to tailgate again, hyped up, eager to experience Bobby Petrino-style football again.

An estimated 27,500 of them showing up at Papa John’s Cardinals stadium expecting an explosive offensive display and they wouldn’t be disappointed.  Too many to count wearing T-shirts proclaiming, “Bobby is Back!” Just couldn’t wait for the fireworks to begin.

They weren’t alone, with many former UofL football players returning for the game, proclaiming how exciting they were about the return of an offensive genius at the helm. Among them Doug Beaumont, a Petrino recruit, who had to wait until his senior season to score a touchdown.

They wouldn’t have to wait long, quarterback Will Gardner connecting with wide receiver James Quick on a 62-yard touchdown on the third play from scrimmage. Also answering a couple of questions about a couple of players who saw limited action last season.

Yes, Gardner can pass and, oh my, Quick looked as good as he looked in high school. Gardner completed 32 of 37 pass attempts for 542 yards and four touchdowns. Quick would make five catches, good for 152 yards.

Any questions about Michael Dyer were answered, too. The second year transfer with the Clydesdale thighs from Auburn is going to be a work horse in the Petrino system. Petrino liked him so much he used him on both teams, Dyer rushing for 99 yards and two touchdowns in 10 carries for the Red team, and 51 yards on four carries and still another touchdown for the Red team. He was also good for 25 yards on a  pass.

L. J. Scott, an impressive freshman running back who never stops churning, saw action on both the starting and second teams, rushing for a total of 128 yards in 19 carries and a touchdown. He may be a backup but he’s going to see a lot of action in Petrino’s high-scoring offense.

Dominique Brown, who has nothing to prove to Petrino or anybody else, was used sparingly, with 31 yards in six carries and a touchdown. Petrino know what he has in Dominique, wanting to see more of Dyer and Scott, we suspect.

DeVanta Parker picking up where he left off, with 10 receptions for 109 yards. Eli Rogers with six catches for 109 yards. But Gerald Christian with eight receptions for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Plenty of targets to go around for Will Gardner.

The grind-it-out, run-out-the-clock, protect-the-lead, wake-me-when-it’s-over approach of the past four seasons has departed for Texas. The scoreboard is going to get a workout in 2015.

UofL women’s basketball rolling, but UConn still formidable

Among the observer’s favorite teams at the University of Louisville is the women’s basketball team. Rarely miss a game, whether it’s going to the KFC Yum! Center, watching on cable TV or listening on WKRD radio.

The Cardinals are currently 18-1 and ranked fifth in the nation. The sole loss a five-point setback to Kentucky in early December. Not surprising since the game was in Lexington.

This is essentially the same team that made the NCAA championship game last April, earning the nickname “Party Crashers” while defeating Tennessee, California and top-ranked Baylor to get there. Not a happy ending, however, with UConn again sticking it to the Cards, 93-60.

Through the first 12 games, the women are averaging 7,825 fans per game at home, compared to 8,704 last season.

One has to wonder just how much still another loss to UConn may have affected attendance for the UofL women’s game this season. Through the first 12 games, the women are averaging 7,825 fans per game at home, compared to 9,513 for the same period last year. Take the UK game (which attracted 15,453 at the Yum!) out of the equation and attendance was still higher, 8,704 per game last season.

The continued losses to UConn have to have had an adverse effect, the fans suspecting that UConn is still far and away a much better program.  That tends to temper any expectations UofL fans may have for their team, despite a top 10 ranking and a sparkling won-lost record.

Don’t look now but there are two games against UConn to be played, the first Feb. 9 on the  road, the second the regular season ending game at the Yum! on March 3.

White outs, pink outs and $2 beers are nice attention-getters, but the only thing that may convince fans that UofL is a serious contender for a national championship will be a win over UConn. That just might possibly require pulling back the curtain and opening the upper level at the KFC Yum! Center.