After dropping three of their first four games to start the month of April, the Louisville baseball team (24-11) took care of business this past week, beating Northern Kentucky at Jim Patterson Stadium and sweeping Virginia Tech on the road. If there was any concern whether this ballclub could regain momentum heading into the second half of the month, these four wins definitely silenced the doubts.
We’ve yet to see this squad rise to the heights of Dan McDonnell’s teams from previous seasons, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get on a roll and surprise some folks in the postseason. The Cards headed into the week with a (6-9) record in conference play, but thanks to some great pitching and clutch hitting, Louisville’s ACC record is back to .500 with only four series left against Virginia (20-16), Boston College (12-22), Pittsburgh (18-14), and Notre Dame (15-21).
Again, I encourage fans to keep believing in this 2018 Cardinals squad. No, they haven’t been dominating every conference series like we’re accustomed to, but that doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous. Louisville’s pitching staff owns the third-highest ERA in the ACC, while giving up the fewest totals hits in the conference. Who knows, with some better defensive play and a few key at-bats, the Cards could find themselves back in Omaha later this Summer.
The Week Ahead
As you may already know, the Cardinals will face the Kentucky Wildcats at 6:00 PM on Tuesday night. The Cats took game-one of the season-series a few weeks ago, but with more red in the crowd and some momentum on their side, Louisville will be looking to continue their dominance of UK at Jim Patterson Stadium.
While it would be great to see the Cardinals beat the Wildcats on Tuesday, the most important match-up of the week comes against the Virginia Cavaliers (20-16).
The Cavs (7-11) are second-to-last in the ACC Atlantic Division, but at this point in the year we can throw records away, as the Cards need to take care of business in order to potentially host a Super Regional later this year. Just like Louisville, Virginia hasn’t been great yet in 2018, but that doesn’t mean they lack talent. The Cavaliers have a tough pitching staff and could take the weekend series if the Cards aren’t focused.
As both teams struggle to play clean defense, these three games will likely come down to whoever makes the least amount of mistakes. However, with an opportunity to make a serious climb in the conference standings over the next few weeks, I expect McDonnell to have his guys ready for battle. Game on.<