Louisville baseball coach Dan McDonnell announced Thursday junior right-hander Kade McClure will start in game one of U of L’s super regional series against Kentucky on Friday.
McClure (7-3, 3.63 ERA) has been Louisville’s No. 2 starter throughout the season, but did get the ball for game one of the Cardinals’ regional last weekend. In that game, he surrendered six earned runs over 5 2⁄3 innings against Radford in what would ultimately be an 11-6 U of L victory.
The no-decision against Radford marked the third straight start in which McClure has failed to pick up a victory. He took losses against Florida State in both the regular season finale series, and in the second game of the ACC Tournament.
Kentucky figures to be an especially tough test for the right-handed McClure. Seven of the nine hitters in the Wildcat lineup are either left-handed or switch-hitters. That should be a better matchup for Brendan McKay, the Louisville ace who figures to get the ball in Saturday’s second game.
As for the Wildcats, skipper Nick Mingione will do the expected and go with freshman lefty Zack Thompson in game one. Thompson (8-2, 3.52 ERA) boasts the best ERA of UK’s starting pitchers. He has struck out 90 opposing hitters to 36 walks, and opponents are hitting just .186 against him.
It’s a risky move for McDonnell to go with McClure in game one, but maybe he’s thinking big picture and wants to make sure the 2016 All-American’s confidence isn’t jilted if this team is in Omaha next week. Regardless, if the Cards can take Friday’s game then they’ll be extremely good shape heading into a weekend where McKay will get the ball on Saturday and another lefty, freshman Nick Bennett (5-0, 2.70 ERA), would be waiting if necessary on Sunday.