Louisville Baseball Game Notes
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The 18th-ranked Louisville baseball team will travel to Bowling Green, Ky., for the second matchup of the season against in-state foe Western Kentucky on Tuesday at 7 p.m., ET at Bowling Green Ballpark.
Live play-by-play of the game can be heard on News/Talk 1570 AM (WNDA). Live audio will be available to subscribers of CardsTV online at UofLsports.com. Live scoring will be available through the Gametracker feature on the baseball schedule page at UofLsports.com.
Entering Tuesday's game, Louisville trails 61-59 in the all-time series with Western Kentucky, which started in 1924. The Cardinals have won nine of the last 11 and 20 of the last 27 in the series. Last season, the two teams split a pair of games with the home team winning each contest. Louisville opened with a 3-1 victory at Patterson Stadium on March 29, 2011, while WKU answered wtih a 15-5 win on April 5, 2011 in Bowling Green.
ABOUT WESTERN KENTUCKY
Western Kentucky enters the week at 18-26 overall after a home series loss to Louisiana-Monroe last weekend.The Hilltoppers are led by coach Matt Myers, who is in his first season at the helm in Bowling Green, Ky. Last season, WKU finished 33-24 overall and was fourth in the Sun Belt Conference with a 17-13 record.
A LOOK BACK AT THE APRIL 3 MATCHUP
Everything the Louisville baseball team was hitting on the nose early in the first matchup on April 3 found the glove of a Western Kentucky player. Stewart Ijames took care of that problem by putting the ball out of reach of everybody but the train conductor.
In the fourth inning, Ijames picked up Louisville's first hit when he crushed a two-run homer, and the big blow lifted the curse off the No. 18 Cardinals' offense and propelled them to a 9-2 victory over the Hilltoppers at a crowded Jim Patterson Stadium on Cancer Awareness Night at the ballpark.
LOUISVILLE TWO GAMES OUT OF FIRST IN BIG EAST RACE WITH THREE WEEKS LEFT
After earning a series win against Connecticut last weekend in Louisville, the Cardinals are two games out of first and tied for second in the BIG EAST Conference race. With a 12-6 record, U of L is tied with USF and UConn and owns the tiebreaker with both after earning series wins over them in the last two weeks. St. John's, which will visit Louisville for a weekend series on May 11-13, is atop the BIG EAST standings with a 14-6 record with just three weeks (nine games) left in the regular-season race.
AMLUNG NAMED BIG EAST PITCHER OF THE WEEK ON APRIL 30
Junior right-hander Justin Amlung was named BIG EAST Conference Pitcher of the Week on April 30 after his dominant outing in Louisville's series-opening win over Connecticut on April 27. Amlung pitched 7.0 shutout innings allowing only four hits with six strikeouts to earn his seventh win of the season in Louisville's 5-0 victory against the Huskies at Jim Patterson Stadium. Overall, he is 7-3 on the season with a 2.27 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 75.1 innings. Amlung is the fourth Cardinal to earn BIG EAST Player/Pitcher of the Week honors this season joining freshman pitcher Jared Ruxer (April 16), sophomore infielder Ty Young (March 19) and senior outfielder/first baseman Stewart Ijames (Feb. 27).
LAST OUTING FOR THE CARDINALS
A late rally was the difference as Louisville surrendered six runs in the final two innings of a 7-4 loss to visiting Connecticut on Sunday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium. With the loss in the final game of the weekend series, the Cardinals dropped to 31-13 overall and 12-6 in BIG EAST Conference action, while Connecticut improved to 24-20 overall and 12-6 in league games by salvaging a win in the series.
NOTES AND TRENDS TO FOLLOW...
Louisville is 15-2 this season against left-handed starters... The Cardinals are 31-1 this season when leading after the seventh inning... As a team, the Cardinals are 71-of-86 on stolen bases this season, while last season they were 67-for-94... With his team-leading 10th home run of the season on April 6, senior Stewart Ijames moved into a tie for eighth on the Cardinals' career home run list with Richie Hawks (1988-91) with 43 home runs... Ijames has 195 RBI in his career, which places him in seventh on U of L's all-time list just one behind sixth-place Tim Harper (1995-98)... With his nine career saves, senior righty Derek Self is tied for 10th on the Cardinals' career list with B.J. Rosenberg (2004-08) and David Sonson (1995-97)... Self has 88 career appearances on the mound, which ranks fifth on the Cards' all-time list... With 44 stolen bases in less than two full seasons, sophomore Adam Engel is sixth on the Cardinals' career list, four behind No. 5 Dave Williams, Jr. (2000-03)... With 22 career wins, junior righty Justin Amlung is tied for second on Louisville's career win list with Brian Bentley (1997-2000) ... And with 210 career strikeouts, Amlung ranks eighth all-time at Louisville, just two behind Rosenberg in seventh and eight behind No. 6 Rod Biehl (1990-91)... With 28 stolen bases this season, Engel is fourth on the Cardinals' single season list, just one behind No. 3 Mike Hook (2000)... With 21 HBPs this season, junior Nick Ratajczak is in third on U of L's single season list behind only Logan Johnson, who sits first (32 in 2007) and second (25 in 2006) on the list.
LOUISVILLE OFFENSE SHOWS IMPROVEMENT IN 2012
After struggling for much of 2011, the Louisville offense has shown considerable improvement through 44 games of 2012. Entering the week, the Cardinals are hitting .311 as a team, nearly 60 percentage points higher than the .253 team average they had in 2011. In the 44 games this season, Louisville has finished with 10 or more hits 26 times, while last season, they achieved that total just 16 times in 61 games. In the scoring column, the Cardinals have scored seven or more runs 23 times (22-1 record), while in 2011, they did it just 15 times overall.