Feb. 14, 2013
GAMEDAY INFORMATION: #4 Louisville at BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge
Dates: Feb. 15-17, 2013
Location: Dunedin, Fla./Clearwater, Fla./St. Petersburg, Fla.
Internet: CardsTV (Audio) at GoCards.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The No. 4 Louisville baseball team will open the 2013 season at the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge against Indiana, USF and Purdue.
It will mark the fourth consecutive season the Cardinals have competed in the event. Louisville will begin the weekend against the Hoosiers on Friday at 7:30 p.m., ET at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, Fla. After playing USF on Saturday at 4 p.m., ET at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla., the Cardinals will close the weekend against Purdue on Sunday at 10 a.m., at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Live audio for all three Louisville games in the Sunshine State will be available to subscribers of CardsTV at GoCards.com. Live scoring for all three games will be available through the Gametracker feature on the baseball schedule page at GoCards.com.
Fans can follow Louisville baseball on Twitter at http://twitter.com/uoflbaseball and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ulbaseball.
BIG EAST/BIG TEN CHALLENGE OVERVIEW
The fifth BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge has a different look than previous seasons as only five total teams (three BIG EAST, two Big Ten) will participate in the event. Louisville is 8-1 all-time in the event after winning two of three games last season.
Games in Dunedin, Fla., will be played at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, spring training home of the Toronto Blue Jayes. Games in Clearwater, Fla., will be played at Bright House Field, spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies. Games in St. Petersburg, Fla., will be played at Al Lang Stadium, former spring training home of the Tampa Bay Rays, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets and New York Giants.
2013 BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge Schedule
Friday, Feb. 15
4 p.m. - Purdue at Connecticut (Dunedin)
7:30 p.m. - Indiana at Louisville (Dunedin)
Saturday, Feb. 16
4 p.m. - Louisville at USF (Clearwater)
7:30 p.m. - USF at Purdue (Clearwater)
7:30 p.m. - Connecticut at Indiana (St. Petersburg)
Sunday, Feb. 17
10 a.m. - Louisville at Purdue (St. Petersburg)
1 p.m. - Purdue at Connecticut (St. Petersburg)
1 p.m. - Indiana at USF (Dunedin)
LOUISVILLE 29-6 OVERALL AGAINST BIG TEN CONFERENCE SINCE 2006
Since head coach Dan McDonnell was hired prior to the 2007 season, the Louisville baseball team has been dominant against the Big Ten Conference holding a 29-6 record overall. UofL was 5-2 last season against the league with wins over Indiana (2), Illinois, Michigan State and Ohio State while dropping games to Minnesota and Purdue. Louisville is 20-19 all-time against Indiana, 31-39 all-time against USF and 5-6 all-time against Purdue.
NOTES AND TRENDS TO FOLLOW
Louisville has won its season-opener in four of McDonnell's six seasons as coach though the Cardinals did drop last year's opener against Minnesota... The Cards were 40-2 last season when leading after seven innings but 0-18 when trailing after the seventh... Louisville was 32-10 in 2012 when scoring first... The Cardinals had an 87-14 scoring advantage in the first inning last season... Louisville was 15-7 in night games and 26-15 in day games in 2012.
CARDINALS FOURTH IN BASEBALL AMERICA PRESEASON TOP 25
The Louisville baseball program received its highest ranking in school history on Jan. 24 as the Cardinals were tabbed at No. 4 in the 2013 Baseball America Preseason Top 25. The Baseball America ranking was two spots better than Louisville's previous best ever ranking of No. 6 following the Cardinals' College World Series appearance in 2007. Louisville's previous best preseason ranking was No. 8 in 2009 by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.
In its final analysis of the Cardinals, Baseball America had this to say about Louisville in 2013: "The Cardinals reached a regional final at eventual national champion Arizona last year, and anything short of their first trip to Omaha since 2007 will be a disappointment this spring. This team is a legitimate championship contender."
Overall, Louisville is ranked in the Top 25 in each of the five major preseason polls announced for 2013. The Cardinals are also ranked No. 15 by Perfect Game, 19th in the NCBWA preseason poll, No. 22 by Collegiate Baseball newspaper and 25th in the USA Today coaches' poll.
LOUISVILLE PICKED TO WIN BIG EAST; FOUR CARDINALS NAMED PRESEASON ALL-BIG EAST
After winning three regular season conference titles in the last four years, Louisville was selected as the favorite to add to that total as the Cardinals were chosen to win the 2013 BIG EAST championship by the league's head coaches.
Louisville, which won a share of the 2012 BIG EAST title and advanced to an NCAA Regional for the fifth time in six seasons, received eight first-place votes and 98 points overall in the coaches' preseason poll. St. John's was second with three first-place votes and 82 points, while Notre Dame was third with 81 points. Connecticut was fourth with 74 points, while USF rounded out the top five with 67 points.
The Cardinals also led all teams with four players named to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team -- junior outfielder Adam Engel, junior designated hitter Jeff Gardner, junior right-handed pitcher Jeff Thompson and sophomore righty Jared Ruxer.
WASSERMAN, ENGEL AND GARDNER SELECTED AS TEAM CAPTAINS
Senior first baseman Zak Wasserman, junior outfielder Adam Engel and junior outfielder Jeff Gardner have been selected as the 2013 Louisville baseball team captains. The selections were voted on by the Cardinal players and coaches.
Wasserman hit .297 with six home runs, 27 RBI and 22 runs scored while playing in 60 games and making 45 starts last season. In his three seasons in Louisville, Wasserman has a .277 career average at the plate in 86 starts and 147 games played overall.
Engel earned Second Team All-BIG EAST honors as a sophomore while hitting .308 with 37 stolen bases in 39 attempts, one home run, 43 runs scored and 18 RBI in 51 appearances and 50 starts. The 37 stolen bases ranked fifth nationally and were the second highest single season total in school history. Overall, Engel has 53 career stolen bases, which ranks fifth all-time at Louisville.
Gardner was a Second Team All-BIG EAST selection at designated hitter last season while hitting .299 with two home runs, 34 RBI, 35 runs scored, nine doubles and two triples in 58 appearances and 47 starts. As a freshman in 2011, Gardner hit.333 with three home runs, 13 RBI and nine doubles in 35 games and was named to the BIG EAST Championship All-Tournament team.