May 14, 2014
CINCINNATI – The University of Cincinnati baseball team will finish the regular season schedule with three games at No. 5 the University of Louisville this weekend. Games will be played at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 15, 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 16 and 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 17.
Both teams will have a lot to play for this weekend with conference seeding on the line. The Bearcats are currently on the outside looking in for the American Athletic Conference championship in Clearwater, Florida but can play their way in with a few results this weekend. Cincinnati must win one more game than the University of Memphis, who hosts Rutgers University for three games. If UC is swept by UofL, it will be eliminated from the tournament.
Louisville will be playing for the American regular-season title and the No. 1 seed at next week’s championship. The Cardinals must win one more game than UCF which is at UConn this weekend.
SETTING THE SCENE
- Connor McVey was named the NCBWA National Hitter of the Week and the American Athletic Conference Player of the Week for games played through May 11. The freshman hit .800 with a 1.200 slugging percentage and a .824 on-base percentage in four games last week. He hit a go-ahead grand slam for his first-career homerun to win the game against Toledo on May 7.
- Redshirt junior Matt Ring was named to the American honor roll this week. He pitched his second-career complete game on Friday, May 9 in the final home game of his career. He did not allow an earned run and struck out three.
- Senior Matt Williams is currently riding a career-high 12-game hit streak. McVey failed to get on base during the loss to Ohio State, effectively ending his eight-game hit streak.
- The Cardinals are currently ranked in all four of college baseball’s recognized polls. They are No. 5 in the NCBWA poll, No. 6 in the USA Today Coaches’ poll, No. 11 in the Collegiate Baseball poll and No. 10 in the Baseball America poll. UofL is also No. 18 in the most recent RPI rankings.
- Louisville is 40-13 on the year and currently tied for first in the American Athletic Conference with a 16-5 mark in league play.
- The Cardinals have reached the 40-win plateau for the fourth consecutive season and are looking to make a repeat run into the College World Series after earning the nod in 2003.
- Jeff Gardner, a front-runner for American Player of the Year, leads the team with a .337 batting average and a .563 slugging percentage. He has 64 hits with 18 doubles, two triples and seven homeruns this season.
- Cole Sturgeon leads the team with 68 hits in 2014.
- On the mound, the Cardinals are led by reliever Nick Burdi, the reigning American Pitcher of the Week. Burdi has a remarkable 0.59 ERA through 24 appearances. He has recorded 53 strikeouts with just eight walks.
- Starters Kyle Funkhouser and Jared Ruxer have ERAs of 1.86 and 2.27, respectively, and have combined for 153 strikeouts.
THE SERIES VS LOUISVILLE
- Cincinnati and Louisville have played 178 times in history with UofL holding a slight 94-84 advantage.
- While the overall margin is close, the Cardinals have owned the series lately by winning the last seven matchups and 13 of the last 14.
- Cincinnati was swept in the series last season, including a 4-1 loss that was played at Great American Ballpark, the home of the Cincinnati Reds.
- The Bearcats won 12 of 13 games in the series back from 1985 to 1988.
- Cincinnati won the first game of the series 13-6 on April 18, 1924 in Louisville, Ky.