April 29, 2010
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - With the annual running of the Kentucky Derby at nearby Churchill Downs as a backdrop, the 11th-ranked Louisville baseball team will conclude its eight-game homestand at Jim Patterson Stadium with a three-game series against BIG EAST Conference foe Rutgers this weekend.
Due to weather concerns for the weekend, the series will begin with a doubleheader on Friday at 3 p.m. ET. The series finale is tentatively set for Saturday at 11 a.m. ET, and if the weather does not allow Saturday baseball, the series will conclude on Sunday at noon ET. Admission is free for the entire weekend series. All three games will be aired live on KOOL 1570 AM as well online through CardsTV at www.UofLSports.com. It is just the third time since 1997 Louisville has hosted a home baseball series on the same weekend as the Kentucky Derby and the first time it has done so at Jim Patterson Stadium, which opened in 2005.
Louisville enters the weekend at 33-7 overall following a dramatic 10-9 win over rival Kentucky on Wednesday night. The Cardinals are in third place in the BIG EAST Conference race with an 11-4 record, two games behind first place Connecticut. Rutgers is 21-17 overall following a 2-1 loss to Monmouth on Wednesday and tied for fifth in the BIG EAST with a 10-5 league record.
At the plate, the Cardinals are led by one of the best infield quartets in the nation in senior first baseman Andrew Clark (.375, 8 HR, 35 RBI), senior shortstop Adam Duvall (.373, 10 HR, 30 RBI), junior third baseman Phil Wunderlich (.371, 14 HR, 41 RBI) and sophomore second baseman Ryan Wright (.370, 11 HR, 49 RBI). The team's four primary infielders, which typically hit second through fifth in the Cards' lineup, rank first through fourth on the team in home runs and average as well as first, second, third and fifth in RBI.
On the mound, Louisville is paced by junior righties Thomas Royse and Neil Holland. Royse, the Cardinals' Friday night starter, is 7-1 overall with a 2.56 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 63.1 innings of work this season. Holland, U of L's closer, leads the BIG EAST and ranks fourth in the nation with 10 saves to go along with a 7-0 record, a 2.25 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 40.0 innings of relief.
The Scarlet Knights are led at the plate by freshman second baseman Steve Nyisztor, who enters the weekend with a 20-game hitting streak. The Freshman All-American candidate owns a team-leading .399 batting average with 13 doubles, a triple and three home runs. On the mound, senior lefty Dennis Hill will make his return to the weekend rotation in Friday's series opener with a 2-4 record and an ERA of 6.02.
Following the Rutgers series, Louisville will begin a six-game road swing with a pair of mid-week games at Big Ten leader Ohio State. The Cardinals and Buckeyes will open their two-game set in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET in a game that will be televised by the Big Ten Network, while Wednesday's game is set for 2:05 p.m.
Free Night's Stay at Galt House for Saturday's Best Derby Hat
During game two of the series on Saturday, which will precede Kentucky Derby 136 at nearby Churchill Downs, the Louisville Athletics Department will give a free night's stay at the Galt House for the best Derby Hat, so fans are encouraged to wear their best Derby Hats to the game.