Don’t be fooled by the struggles the University of Louisville baseball team has endured the past two weekends. The Cardinals won only twice in six games at Notre Dame and North Carolina State. Baseball is a funny game and the outlook can change quickly at the collegiate level.
UofL (21-6) started the season against some of the mid to lower level conference teams. A fast start was not in the Cards. Following on the heals of two road series ar are seven straight home games beginning with Lipscomb (11-14) tonight at 6.
A series with Boston College (20-6, 8-4) starts Thursday then a visit by Kentucky. Wake Forest one of the Conference preseason favorites comes to Jim Patterson Stadium next weekend April 14-16.
Coach Dan McDonnell seemed a bit perturbed after Sunday’s series finale against NC State. “We’re close to doing something special. Obviously our bullpen let it get away. We’re not going to point at one one guy,” said McDonnell. “You don’t score enough runs. You don’t make a play. It’s everybody.”
Louisville has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the six collegiate polls and currently sits 11th.
The Cards have let a couple close games slip away. Last Friday the Wolfpack edged the Cards 6-5. They also dropped a 4-3 decision after leading 3-0 beginning the Notre Dame series.
“I’m not one to ‘well we lost by one run.’ Teams that lose by one run aren’t good teams in my opinion,” said McDonnell. “If you want to be a good team you win by one run or more.”
Sophomore right handed pitcher Carson Liggett (6-0, 1.75 era) has been outstanding as has Friday starter Ryan Hawks (4-1, 3.43 era). The starting pitchers have a combined 3.44 earned run average and opponents are batting .221. They have 132 strikeouts in 128 1/3 innings. Nationally the staff ranks 20th with a 3.56 era and allows an average of 7.38 hits per game.
“Our (starting) pitchers have done their thing,” said McDonnell. “I don’t know if we’ve made it easy on our pitchers.”
Louisville ranks sixth in the ACC in batting with a .296 average. Sophomore Jack Payton has a .410 average and leads the Cards in home runs with seven and 26 batted in. Christian Knapczyk is third in the ACC with 14 stolen bases leads the running game.
Freshman Gavin Kilen is hitting .333 but is better in conference play with .393. average. He ranks as one of the toughest hitters in ACC play to strikeout, once in every 12 at-bats.
“We need to learn and grow,” said McDonnell. “This is a big home stand. We’re more comfortable at home.”