April 10, 2014
Junior closer Nick Burdi is the Cardinals' career saves leader with 21, including five this season to go with a 2-0 record.
GAME DAY INFO: #10 Louisville (24-8, 4-2 American) at #7 Houston (26-6, 4-2 American)
Date: April 11-13, 2014
Times: 8 p.m. ET | 7:30 p.m. ET | 1 p.m. ET
Location: Houston, Texas
Venue: Cougar Field (3,500)
Radio: WNDA 1570 AM
Internet: CardsTV (Audio) at GoCards.com
Live Stats: Gametracker at GoCards.com
Twitter Updates: @UofLBaseball
|Friday, 8 p.m. ET||CardsTV: Listen||Gametracker|
|Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET||CardsTV: Listen||Gametracker|
|Sunday, 1 p.m. ET||CardsTV: Listen||Gametracker|
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A top 10 weekend showdown between the preseason favorites in the American Athletic Conference baseball championship race begins on Friday at 8 p.m., ET as No. 10 Louisville visits No. 7 Houston for a pivotal three-game series in the Lone Star State.
The weekend slate at Cougar Field continues on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., ET before concluding on Sunday at 1 p.m. Live play-by-play of the series can be heard on News/Talk 1570 AM (WNDA) while live audio will be available to subscribers of CardsTV at GoCards.com. Live scoring of the series will be available through the Gametracker feature at GoCards.com.
LOU: So. RHP Kyle Funkhouser (6-1, 2.77 ERA)
HOU: Jr. RHP Aaron Garza (6-2, 1.83 ERA)
LOU: Jr. RHP Jared Ruxer (5-1, 2.72 ERA)
HOU: So. RHP Jake Lemoine (5-1, 1.18 ERA)
LOU: So. RHP Anthony Kidston (2-0, 2.93 ERA)
HOU: So. LHP Jared West (2-1, 2.72 ERA)
ABOUT THE CARDINALS
Louisville enters the weekend at 24-8 overall after a 3-1 win at Purdue on Tuesday and 4-2 in conference action after winning two of three against Memphis last weekend. The Cardinals, who returned 19 letterwinners from last year's College World Series squad, will close the regular season with four of their last six weekend series on the road starting with the visit to Houston.
ABOUT THE COUGARS
Houston is 26-6 overall after earning a 7-1 win over Texas State on Tuesday and 4-2 in conference games following a series win at Rutgers last weekend. The Cougars were 36-22 last season and finished fifth in Conference USA with a 13-11 league mark.
Louisville is 9-17 all-time against Houston in a series that dates back to 1997. This weekend marks the first meetings between the programs since the Cardinals won two of three in Houston on April 8-10, 2005.
- This will be the first time in program history the Cardinals have played a regular season series where both teams are ranked in the top 10.
- The visit to No. 7 Houston is Louisville's first regular season road series against a top 10 foe since 2006 when they won two of three at No. 8 Notre Dame.
- Louisville has won four straight series against nationally ranked foes with the last loss coming in 2011 at No. 15 Connecticut.
LOUISVILLE NOTES AND TRENDS
- The Cardinals have allowed two or fewer earned runs in 17 of 32 games this season, something they did in 36 of 65 games in 2013.
- Louisville is 21-0 this season when leading after the eighth inning and has won 76 straight games when entering the ninth with the lead going back to May 2012.
- The Cardinals are 19-0 this season when out-hitting their opponents and just 4-6 when being out-hit.
- Louisville has won 38 straight games dating back to last season when scoring five runs or more including a 22-0 record this season.
- The Cardinals are 15-2 this season against righty starters and 9-6 against lefties.
- Jeff Gardner leads Louisville with 15 multiple hit games and 13 multiple RBI games this season.
- Jared Ruxer, second on the team with five wins this season, is the most experienced pitcher for Louisville in 2014 with 29 career starts, 13 wins, 107 strikeouts and 162.0 total innings pitched collegiately.
- While surpassing Neil Holland (19 saves, 2008-10) as the Cardinals' career saves leader on March 26, Nick Burdi has extended his career-best scoreless streak to 20.0 innings dating back to last season.
CARDINALS RANKED IN TOP 20 IN ALL FIVE MAJOR POLLS
After opening 2014 in the same position it ended the 2013 season with a top 10 national ranking, Louisville remains in the top 10 after eight weeks of action. Entering week nine, the Cardinals are ranked as highly as No. 10 by Perfect Game and they continue to be ranked in all five major polls. Prior to the season, Louisville was tabbed at No. 8 in the Collegiate Baseball newspaper preseason poll, 13th in the USA Today coaches' poll, 14th in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association preseason poll, 16th in the Perfect Game Top 25 and 20th in the Baseball America Top 25. Louisville has earned preseason top 25 rankings in seven straight seasons under the direction of head coach Dan McDonnell.
GARDNER, STURGEON CONTINUE WHERE THEY LEFT OFF IN 2013
After finishing the 2013 College World Series season as the Cardinals' top two hitters for average, senior outfielders and team captains Jeff Gardner and Cole Sturgeon have continued to pace the way for the Louisville offense in 2014. Gardner leads the team in average (.384), RBI (39), doubles (12) and slugging (.607) and ranks second in home runs (3) while starting 27 games. Sturgeon leads the team in triples (4), ranks second in runs scored (31) and doubles (7) and is third in stolen bases (10) while starting all 32 games in the outfield in right and center.
RUXER RETURNS TO DOMINATE FORM EARLY IN JUNIOR SEASON
Following a disappointing sophomore season, junior righthander Jared Ruxer has returned to his freshman form early in 2014 winning five of eight starts and registering an ERA of 2.72. A Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American in 2012 with an 8-3 mark, Ruxer was winless last season while finishing with an ERA above five. However, he's been strong this season with a 5-1 record and 40 strikeouts (including a career-high 11 against Toledo on March 1) in 46.1 innings and eight starts. He has 29 starts, 13 wins and 162.0 innings pitched in his career.
KAY SHOWS EARLY OFFENSE, VERSATILITY ON DEFENSE IN FIRST SEASON
In his first season with the Cardinals after transferring from Iowa Western Community College, junior infielder Grant Kay has shown flashes of terrific offense while proving to be very versatile defensively. In the ninth week of action, Kay is hitting .311 with three home runs, 31 RBI, seven doubles, 31 runs scored and 15 stolen bases while batting in the middle of the Louisville lineup. In addition to his work at the plate, he has 13 starts at first base, eight starts at second base, two starts at third base, four starts in right field and five starts as the designated hitter while also seeing playing time in center field.
LOUISVILLE PLAYS AGGRESSIVE ON THE BASES AGAIN IN 2014
After ranking second in the nation in stolen bases in last season with 150 in 196 attempts, Louisville has continued the aggressiveness on the bases in 2014 ranking second nationally with 69 steals in 88 attempts entering the ninth week of the season. The Cardinals are paced by junior Sutton Whiting, who leads the nation in stolen bases per game at 0.80 and ranks third nationally in total steals with 20 in 24 attempts despite missing six games with an injury. Grant Kay has 15 steals to rank 23rd nationally, while Cole Sturgeon's 10 steals give Louisville three players with 10 or more stolen bases this season.
CAREER TOP 10 TRACKER: WHERE THE 2014 CARDINALS RANK IN HISTORY
Nick Burdi has already become Louisville's career saves leader with 21 surpassing Neil Holland (20 saves, 2008-10) atop the all-time leaderboard... With 47 career stolen bases, Sutton Whiting ranks seventh all-time at Louisville and will equal Dave Williams, Jr., for sixth with his next steal... Cole Sturgeon needs six stolen bases to move into a tie for 10th all-time at Louisville equaling Drew Haynes (2008-11) and Jeff Arnold (2007-10)... Sturgeon has 11 career triples to rank ninth all-time at Louisville while his next three-bagger will move him into a tie for eighth with Mark Jurich (2001-04)... With 198 games played, Sturgeon is 14 away from moving into a tie for 9th in career games equaling Zak Wasserman (2010-13) and Darren Oppel... Jeff Gardner has 45 career doubles and just three away from moving into the career top 10 equaling the 48 by Ryan Wright (2009-11), Adam Duvall (2009-10) and Daniel Burton (2004-07).
GARDNER SELECTED AS CANDIDATE FOR 2014 SENIOR CLASS AWARD®
Jeff Gardner was among 30 candidates announced on March 19 for the prestigious 2014 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate baseball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2014 College World Series® in June. For more information on all the candidates, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.
FRACTURED NOSE SIDELINES WHITING FOR SIX OF THE FIRST 11 GAMES
Junior shortstop Sutton Whiting missed six of the Cardinals' first 11 games this season due to a fractured nose suffered on Feb. 14 against West Virginia when he was hit in the face by a pitch in the ninth inning of Louisville's season-opening win over the Mountaineers. After missing the final two games of the opening weekend in Charleston, S.C., and the Feb. 19 game with Eastern Kentucky, Whiting returned to the field on Feb. 21 when he came off the bench to go 2-for-4 with two runs scored in the series-opening win over Western Michigan. After starting the final two games of the WMU series as well as the midweek win over Eastern Illinois on Feb. 25, Whiting missed all three games on Feb. 28-March 1 after having his nose reset on Feb. 26.
LUCAS NAMED AMERICAN CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK TWICE
Zach Lucas has been selected as the American Conference Player of the Week two times this season earning the honor on March 17 and Feb. 24. During the week of March 11-15, he hit .500 (9-for-18) with two home runs, seven RBI, 10 runs scored, a .944 slugging percentage and a .625 on-base percentage while leading the Cardinals to a 5-0 week. His best game of the week came in Louisville's 20-10 series-opening win over Samford when he connected for a pair of home runs, five RBI and scored four times. During the week of Feb. 19-23, Lucas connected for a pair of three-run home runs, had eight RBI, hit .313 and had a .688 slugging percentage.
GARDNER NAMED AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Senior outfielder Jeff Gardner was chosen as the American Athletic Conference Player of the Week on Feb. 17 following his contributions at the season-opening Homewood Suites Tournament. Tabbed as the AAC Preseason Player of the Year by the league's head coaches, Gardner hit .417 (5-for-12) with a home run, two doubles, a triple and six RBI in three starts in left field during the event hosted by The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. Gardner's heroics included a 10th-inning walk-off solo home run in the 7-6 triumph over West Virginia and a three-run triple in the first inning of the 6-1 win over Delaware.
SIXTEEN CARDINALS MAKE LOUISVILLE DEBUT IN 2014
A total of 16 first-year Cardinals have made their debuts this season. Most recently, freshman Josh Rogers (March 19) and redshirt freshman Michael Bollmer (March 29) made their first appearances. Prior to that, freshmen Ryan Lauria and Mason Richardson saw their first action in the Cardinals' series with Western Michigan. That was preceded by freshmen Zack Burdi and Robert Strader making their debuts on the mound in the midweek win over Eastern Kentucky on Feb. 19. During the opening weekend in Charleston, a total of 10 first-year Cardinals saw their first game action. Transfer Grant Kay, redshirt freshman Jordan Striegel and freshmen Jake Sparger and Logan Taylor made their first appearances in the UofL uniform in the season-opener against WVU, while freshmen Will Smith and Corey Ray played in their first games on against The Citadel. In the Feb. 16 weekend finale, freshmen Drew Harrington, Colin Lyman, Nick Solak and Ryan Summers all saw action for the first time.
BURDI EARNS NUMEROUS FIRST TEAM PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA HONORS
Following an All-American season in 2013, junior righthander Nick Burdi enters 2014 with similar expectations nationally earning preseason All-America accolades from four different organizations. Burdi was named First Team Preseason All-America by Baseball America, Perfect Game, Collegiate Baseball newspaper and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. In 2013, Burdi was among the nation's best relievers earning 16 saves with a 0.76 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 29 relief appearances and 35.2 innings pitched as the Cardinals won a school record 51 games and advanced to the College World Series for the second time in school history. Among the nation's hardest throwers, he was named First Team All-America by Perfect Game and Second Team All-America by the NCBWA last season.
CARDINALS TABBED AS AMERICAN CONFERENCE FAVORITE; GARDNER PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Following its record-setting 2013 season, the Louisville baseball team will enter 2014 as the unanimous favorite to win the inaugural American Athletic Conference championship while Cardinals' senior outfielder Jeff Gardner was selected as the league's Preseason Player of the Year on Dec. 23.
Louisville, which won its fourth Big East regular season championship in five years and advanced to the College World Series for the second time in school history last season, received all eight possible first-place votes and 64 points overall in the preseason poll of the conference's head coaches announced on Monday by the league. The Cardinals were also tabbed as the preseason favorite in the Big East Conference last season before eventually winning the regular season title and a school record 51 games overall.
Following Louisville in the preseason poll was Houston, UCF and Connecticut in a three-way tie for second place with 47 points each. USF rounded out the top five with 34 points, while the final four spots in the preseason conference rundown were Memphis (30), Rutgers (27), Cincinnati (18) and Temple (8). Gardner headlined a group of six Cardinals, including junior righty pitcher Nick Burdi, sophomore righthanders Kyle Funkhouser and Anthony Kidston, senior outfielder Cole Sturgeon and junior infielder Sutton Whiting, earning preseason All-American Athletic Conference accolades.
CARDINALS' RADIO, WEB STREAMING DETAILS FOR 2014
For the sixth consecutive season, News/Talk 1570 AM (WNDA) will serve as the radio home for Louisville baseball with 47 regular-season games and all post-season games scheduled for broadcast by the Clarksville, Ind., station. With Sean Moth back calling the action, the radio schedule includes all 36 home games, three games each at American Athletic Conference foes Houston and UCF, midweek games at Indiana, Western Kentucky, Kentucky, Purdue and Vanderbilt and all of the Cardinals' American Athletic Conference Championship and NCAA Championship games.
Louisville once again has a strong presence on the internet as subscribers can follow every game of the 2014 baseball season through CardsTV at GoCards.com. Live streaming audio will be available for every regular-season and post-season game, while streaming video will be available for all 36 home games. Fans can also access the CardsTV video and audio streams for every UofL game while on the go at GoCards.com mobile app.
In Dan McDonnell's first seven seasons as head coach, the Louisville baseball program produced 15 All-Americans, more than three times as many as what the program had prior to McDonnell's arrival. Below is the list of All-America honorees since Dan McDonnell was introduced prior to 2007.
- Nick Burdi (Perfect Game First Team, NCBWA Second Team)
- Jeff Thompson (Louisville Slugger Second Team, Perfect Game Third Team, NCBWA Third Team)
- Justin Amlung (Louisville Slugger Third Team)
- Neil Holland (NCBWA First Team, Baseball America Third Team, Louisville Slugger Third Team)
- Thomas Royse (Louisville Slugger Third Team)
- Ryan Wright (Baseball America Second Team)
- Phil Wunderlich (Baseball America Third Team, Louisville Slugger Third Team)
- Chris Dominguez (Baseball America First Team, Louisville Slugger First Team, Ping! Baseball First Team, ABCA Third Team)
- Justin Marks (Louisville Slugger Second Team, Ping! Baseball Second Team, Baseball America Third Team, ABCA Third Team)
- Phil Wunderlich (NCBWA Second Team)
- Chris Dominguez (NCBWA Third Team, Louisville Slugger Third Team, Baseball America Third Team, PING! Baseball Third Team)
- Justin Marks (PING! Baseball Second Team)
- Justin McClanahan (PING! Baseball Third Team)
- Logan Johnson (Louisville Slugger Third Team)
- Boomer Whiting (Louisville Slugger Third Team, Baseball America Third Team)