With just one day remaining before the Cards take the diamond, the starting rotation was released for the opening series against Bucknell. Three familiar faces will get the ball to start the season, but I would not etch their names in stone just yet. The rotation is going to be a fluid situation as many other arms will likely get an opportunity before the permanent rotation is set.
To start the season, pitching coach Roger Williams is going with Ryan Hawks, a senior from Warren East HS in Bowling Green, as the Friday night guy. Hawks finished 2022 with a 5-3 record and 4.96 ERA.
On Saturday, Riley Phillips, who many believed would get the ball on Friday, will get the nod. Phillips emerged as one of the more consistent arms down the stretch last year, going 5-1 with a 4.34 ERA.
Sophomore, Carson Liggett, will settle in as the Sunday starter this weekend against Bucknell. If you’ve read my posts and listened to the 3rd and Central Podcast, you would know I am high on Liggett and am excited about his increased role in 2023. As a freshman, he made 18 appearances and recorded a 3-0 record and 4.68 ERA.
Over the last few weeks, I have released in-depth position breakdowns, which you can catch up on here: catchers, corner infielders, middle infielders, outfielders, and pitchers. But now, with one day until first pitch, it is time to wrap everything together and put a bow on it.
Predicting the lineup this year is as challenging as it has ever been for a Louisville team. Many pieces of the puzzle are interchangeable and can lineup to play multiple positions defensively, making it nearly impossible.
I also don’t think the lineup we see this weekend is the lineup we will see at the end of the season. For example, Gavin Kilen will find his way in the lineup in some capacity, starting as the permanent SS or 2B before it is all said and done. He could even start this weekend for all I know.
So, here is my best stab at the lineup (in no particular batting order):
(C) Jack Payton
(1B) Ryan McCoy
(2B) Logan Beard
(SS) Christian Knapczyk
(3B) Patrick Forbes
(LF) Eddie King Jr.
(CF) JT Benson
(RF) Isaac Humphrey
(DH) Brandon Anderson
We will see just how wrong I am in about 24 hours.
After coming off an encouraging 22-26 season in 2022, the Bison are looking to build off last year’s momentum and make a run to the NCAA Tournament for just the 7th time in school history. You have to go all the way back to 2015 to find a season when Bucknell had more wins (24) than they did in 2022.
This will be the first three contests between the Cards and Bison, but they are very familiar with the ACC, playing at least one team from the conference every year over the last five years.
Here is the projected weekend rotation for Bucknell:
Friday - RHP Will Greer (5-3, 4.39 ERA in 2022)
Saturday - LHP Chris DiFiore (0-0, 4.50 ERA in 2022)
Sunday - RHP Tyler O’Neill (3-4, 3.81 ERA In 2022)
Schedule for the weekend is as follows:
Friday @ 3:00 PM (Just don’t look at the weather)
Saturday @ 1:00 PM (Partly cloudy with a high of 48)
Sunday @ 1:00 PM (High of 56!)
All three games will be televised on the ACC Network Extra and you can listen to the goat, Sean Moth, on 970AM. Admission is free for each game and as always, include some solid promotions. Check them out below.
One. More. Day.