The Louisville baseball team is one victory away from avoiding some highly anxious moments on Selection Monday.
While the Cards have a respectable RPI and have hit the magic number of 40 wins, a loss to Cincinnati in today's Big East championship game means that they're likely battling for an at-large bid with a St. John's team that came into this week nationally ranked, and which took two of three from U of L in early April.
To put all doubt to bed, the Cards will have to knock off a team that has been every bit as dominant as they have in Clearwater this week. Cincinnati and Louisville have both advanced to the title game without tasting defeat. UC has won its three games by a total of 35-8, while U of L has outscored its opponents 39-12. Both teams have caused the mercy rule to be brought into play.
A spot in the NCAA Tournament is on the line, in what should be a dandy.
LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (40-19) vs. CINCINNATI BEARCATS (39-19)
Game Time: 1 p.m.
Radio: 1450 AM
Site: Bright House Field: Clearwater, Fla
Season Series: Louisville leads 2-1
Louisville will put its championship hopes on the shoulders of No. 3 starter Bob Revesz (1-0, 3.41 ERA). The freshman left-hander got his first start on April 8 against Kentucky, and has since emerged as a reliable third option. He isn't going to overpower anyone, but he has tremendous command of all his pitches, and has walked just five batters over 31 2/3 innings. Revesz got the start against the Bearcats on April 27, but allowed three early runs and lasted just 2 2/3 innings. The Cards won the game 9-3.
UC has been fortunate enough to only have to use five pitchers over its three games, and thus the Bearcats have a number of options for today's title tilt. The most likely starter is sophomore right-hander Tyler Smith (3-3, 4.27 ERA). Smith has made 12 starts on the season, allowing 51 hits and 29 runs while striking out 50 and holding opponents to a .249 batting average. He started opposite of Revesz in that April 27 game and had an even shorter day, surrendering three runs on three hits before being yanked after retiring just one batter in the second.
Probable Starting Lineups
1. John Dao (SS), .356
2. Josh Richmond (LF), .291
3. Justin McLanahan (2B), .372
4. Chris Dominguez (3B), .367
5. Stewart Ijames (RF), .342
6. Jeff Arnold (C), .326
7. Andrew Clark (1B), .323
8. Phil Wunderlich (DH), .266
9. Drew Haynes (CF), .287
1. Tony Campana (CF), .344
2. Jamel Scott (LF), .315
3. Josh Harrison (2B), .380
4. Mike Spina (3B), .374
5. Cameron Satterwhite (RF), .362
6. Ryan Baker (C), .294
7. Justin Riddell (DH), .279
8. Kevin Johnson (1B), .248
9. Chris Peters (SS), .245