We just might be in for some more early summer excitement afterall.
After a weekend sweep of Georgetown, the Louisville baseball team has now won seven-straight games to position itself for a run at its second NCAA tournament at-large bid in as many years.
With nine games remaining in the season, the Cards currently sit at 13-8 in the Big East, and 31-16 overall. U of L squeaked into the dance a year ago with a final regular season mark of 40-20.
Of course Louisville can put to bed any doubt regarding its postseason fate by being the last team standing when the Big East tournament ends on May 24. The Cards would be the four seed if the eight-team double-elimination tourney began today, but that might not keep them from being the favorite in an extremely wide-open field.
In addition to non-conference games with Indiana, Butler and Ball State, the Cardinal Nine will end the regular season with weekend sets against sixth-place West Virginia (11-10), and a Rutgers (9-12) squad that figures to still be right in the middle of an intense race for the No. 8 seed.
Justin Marks continued his spectacular sophomore season by striking out a career-best 10 hitters over eight innings, as the Cards took the series opener in Bethesda 4-3.
Down 3-2 in the top of the 7th, Cardinal DH Tyler Mickits singled up the middle to start the rally. Following a pair of outs and a bunt single by Drew Haynes, freshmen right fielder Stewart Ijames drilled a double into the gap that put the Cards on top for good.
B.J. Rosenberg struck out a pair in the bottom of the ninth, and picked up his fifth save of the season.
For the game, Marks allowed just six hits and two earned runs. He surrendered no walks, and retired the final ten hitters he faced.
A pair of RBI singles in the top of the ninth by catcher Jeff Arnold and designated hitter Phil Wunderlich proved to be the difference, as Louisville rallied to take game two from Georgetown 5-3.
Reigning Big East Pitcher of the Year Zack Pitts gave perhaps his best performance of the season, allowing four hits and no runs over seven innings. But Pitts's effort was ruined in the eighth when the Hoyas were able to touch freshmen Thomas Royse for three runs and knot the score.
Stewart Ijames, the hero of Friday night's win, had another big day, going 4-for-5 with two runs scored and another run knocked in. Chris Dominguez also scored two and knocked in one, finishing the night 2-for-5 with a triple and a double.
The pitching trio of Bob Revesz, Gabriel Shaw and Gavin Logsdon combined to toss a two-hitter as Louisville completed a weekend sweep of Georgetown with a 9-2 victory.
Revesz continued to improve upon his solid freshman season by allowing just two hits and two runs over seven innings. Shaw and Logsdon then came in to retire the final six Hoya hitters in order.
Second baseman Justin McClanahan belted his eigth home run of the season, and finished the day 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. First baseman Andrew Clark also went deep, and shortsop John Dao had two hits and drove a pair of runs in.