The Louisville baseball team (20-11) is looking to beat up on some lesser competition this week after dropping three of their first four games to start the month of April. The Cards lost to the 9th ranked Kentucky Wildcats on Tuesday and dropped two of three to the 8th ranked NC State Wolfpack over the weekend. Louisville had their chances, but couldn’t overcome some pitching woes, giving up an average of 7.25 runs per game.
Unfortunately, the Cards now head into the second week of April with a losing record in conference play. Losers of nine of their first fifteen ACC games, Louisville is fifth in the Atlantic Division. Needless to say, that’s not something we’re used to seeing from a Dan McDonnell squad.
It’s become clear, over the course of conference play, the Cards are missing some of their key veterans from years past. The usual clean defensive play we’re used to watching is something this 2018 Louisville squad has yet to show. According to the ACC’s official website, the Cards have made a total of 39 errors this year, which is an average of 1.25 errors per game. Against tough competition, those mistakes will cost you wins, hands down.
Still, even with some growing pains that are surely not over, this Louisville team isn’t far from making some noise.
The Week Ahead
Per usual, the Cards have four games on the schedule this week: Tuesday at Jim Patterson Stadium against Northern Kentucky (7-20) and a weekend series against Virginia Tech (13-17) in Blacksburg. All things considered, these should be four games Louisville handles quite easily.
NKU may give the Cards a bit of a fight, but the Norse aren’t very good this season. They’ll have a hard time keeping Louisville off the bases on Tuesday afternoon. Mark it down.
In terms of the Cards’ weekend against VT, it’ll also be one Louisville cannot afford to squander. The Hokies have an extremely tough time putting runs on the scoreboard and own one the ACC’s worst earned-run-averages (5.14 ERA). There’s no such thing as an easy series in this conference, but this may be the closest thing.
If the Cardinals can get the weekend sweep over the Hokies, they’ll improve their ACC record to 9-9 with four more conference series left against Virginia (18-14), Boston College (10-19), Pittsburgh (17-11), and Notre Dame (13-16). If the Cards can handle their business against these lower-level ACC opponents, they’ll have a legitimate opportunity to get on a roll heading into the postseason.<
Derek Snyder joined as a contributor for TheCardinalConnect.com in April of 2018. He previously covered everything Louisville Cardinals as the Site-Expert for BigRedLouie.com in 2016. Follow Derek on Twitter @dcolesny10.