U of L baseball hosts 12-time champ USC

The University of Louisville baseball team will host 12-time national champion USC for a midweek two-game series beginning Tuesday afternoon. Here are a few baseball notes from Cardinal Authority heading into the series.

12-TIME NATIONAL CHAMPS HEADED TO TOWN

Southern California, a baseball program with 12 national titles – six more than any other team in the country – to its credit, will visit the University of Louisville for a two-game midweek series at Jim Patterson Stadium.

The Cardinals will host the Trojans at 5 p.m. on Tuesday and 3 o'clock on Wednesday afternoon. USC holds a 5-0 record in the all-time series between the two teams but it's the first games outside of Los Angeles.

U of L (16-2) has won seven games in a row and is ranked No. 4 in the Baseball America poll. USC is 8-11 but just knocked off No. 12 Oregon on Sunday.

Junior right hander Dace Kime is expected to get the start on Tuesday for the Cardinals. He's 2-0 with a 3.06 ERA on the season. Freshman Kyle Funkhouser (1-0, 0.00 ERA) is expected to get the start on Wednesday.

The Cardinals are off the second best start under head coach Dan McDonnell, trailing only the 17-1 start by the 2010 team.

U of L is 9-0 when scoring first and have outscored foes 23-3 in the first inning this season.

U OF L LEADS NATION IN STOLEN BASES

After 18 games, Louisville leads the nation in stolen bases a game at 3.67 and is second in total stole bases with 66. Campbell has 67.

The Cardinals have been caught stealing 17 times this season.

Center fielder Adam Engel leads the Cardinals with 22 stolen bases on the season, which ranks him second nationally. Campbell's Ben McQuown leads the nation with 26 stolen bases. Both have been caught stealing one time.

Third baseman Ty Young is ranked No. 21 nationally in stolen bases with 11, while left fielder Coco Johnson is ranked No. 28 with 10.

Engel is also ranked second with 1.22 stolen bases a game.

CARDS RANKED NO. 2 NATIONALLY IN ERA

U of L is all over the national pitching statistics after a fast start by the pitching staff this season, including earned run average.

The Cardinals rank No. 2 nationally among ERA's by a staff at 1.77, just a little behind Oregon at 1.59 a game.

U of L has two pitchers ranked in the top 40: Jeff Thompson at No. 12 with a 0.55 ERA and Chad Green at No. 42 with a 1.16 ERA.

The U of L staff ranked No. 4 on Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio at 3.85 and No. 4 among teams in Strikeouts Per Nine Innings at 9.5 a game.

COMING UP FOR THE CARDS

After playing USC, the Cardinals will host Rutgers in the first Big East Conference games of the season this weekend.

The Scarlet Knights will be in town for a three-game series, including 6 o'clock on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The Cardinals will then go on the road for a game at Indiana next Tuesday, marking the end of a 20-game home stand.

U of L will host Notre Dame for a three-game set March 28-30 before playing host to Kentucky on April 2.

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