THREE MORE ON THE ROAD
The University of Louisville, tied atop the Big East Conference standings with South Florida, plays three road games this weekend at St. John’s.
The Cardinals (29-7) are 7-2 along with the Bulls in the conference race, two games in the loss category ahead of Rutgers and Connecticut.
The games are 6 p.m. on Friday and then 2:30 on Saturday and noon on Sunday in Queens, N.Y. The first and third games of the series are on ESPN3, while the second game will be on the CBS Sports Network.
”This is a big weekend series,” U of L coach Dan McDonnell said. “We always stay focused on the next game and don’t look ahead, these are big for us.”
U of L, ranked as high as No. 8 in the national polls, will then host Vanderbilt on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. The Commodores are ranked among the top three teams in the country by virtually every national poll.
The Cardinals host Georgetown at home next weekend.
FEEDING OFF THE SUCCESS
U of L has been on a baseball run since the men’s basketball team won the national championship 11 days ago in Atlanta.
McDonnell attended the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games in Indianapolis and said his wife and kids were in Atlanta for the Final Four.
”Success breeds success,” McDonnell said. “I always say you become a product of your society and this is a great society we have on campus right now.
”I love the excitement of our fans. The fans are what make it. It’s a lot of fun around here at Louisville.”
McDonnell said he was in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl in January and noted, “that’s where all the success started for this year.”
CARDS BIG IN THE EIGHTH INNING
The eighth inning has been big for the Cardinals this season.
U of L has now outscored foes 53-15 in the eight throughout the season, including a 9-0 advantage last Friday against Elon.
The most U of L has scored in any other inning on the season is 33 in the first and third innings. The Cardinals have only been outscored in the second inning where opponents lead 16-15.
McDonnell said he hopes there’s a reason for the eighth-inning success.
”I try to attest it to obviously good hitters but hopefully that we just wear down pitchers,” McDonnell said. “You can only get out of so many jams.
”Good teams leave more runners on base because they have runners on base. Eventually when you get runner on base, sometimes it wears (opponents) down both physically and mentally.”
AGGRESSIVE ON THE BASES
U of L has continued to be aggressive on the base paths this season, already surpassing last year’s total of stolen bases.
The Cardinals rank fourth nationally with 98 stolen bases in 126 attempts. In 63 games last season, U of L stole 96 total bases.
Center fielder Adam Engel leads the Cardinals with 30 steals.
The school record is 153 in 2007.
U of L scored a 4-0 win over Elon last weekend, marking the sixth shutout of the season for the Cardinals.
The school record for shutouts is seven, set in 2007 by the team that made it to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
U of L has 30 shutouts during McDonnell’s tenure.