It's been a bit of an up-and-down rife for the Louisville baseball team this season, which began the year as a consensus top 25 club but has since fallen out of most sets of national rankings. Following a 15-5 loss at Western Kentucky on Tuesday, the Cards sit at 18-10, but are 4-2 in the Big East and still very capable of attaining their goal of winning the league.
Unlike in recent years, the Cardinals have been led by their arms. Only one Louisville player (Ryan Wright) is hitting above .300, which is amazing given the offensive production we've seen from Dan McDonnell's teams in recent years. Conversely, U of L's pitching has a sparkling combined ERA of 2.55, with all three main starters' ERAs falling below 3.0. Sophomore starter Justin Amlung, a former standout at St. Xavier, is putting together one of the better seasons in Cardinal history.
As some of us begin to turn our focus to the diamond, here's a quick rundown of the Cardinal Nine's season to date:
Big East Record: 4-2
Big East Rank: Second (UConn leads the league at 5-1)
Leading Hitter: Ryan Wright (.303 avg.)
Other Standout: Stewart Ijames (.265 avg., team-best 6 HR and 24 RBI)
Team Batting Average: .255
Best Pitcher: Justin Amlung (6-0, 0.92 ERA, 33 strikeouts and just 5 earned runs allowed in 48.2 innings of work)
Team ERA: 2.55
--Dating back to last season, Louisville has won eight straight Big East series.
--The Cardinals have 193 strikeouts and only 87 walks in 250.0 innings.
--Louisville has six shutout wins in 2011, which ranks as the second most in school history.
--Louisville is 17-1 when leading entering the ninth inning.
--Justin Amlung is the first Cardinal pitcher to allow two earned runs or fewer in seven straight starts since Zack Pitts in 2007.
Up Next: A weekend series at Cincinnati (14-12, 3-3)