The fifth-ranked University of Louisville baseball team hosts Kentucky in the annual Battle of the Bluegrass on Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET at Jim Patterson Stadium. The game can be seen on ACC Network Extra with radio coverage available on 93.9 The Ville.

ABOUT THE CARDINALS

The Cardinals captured another ACC series victory over the weekend, taking two-of-three from Wake Forest. Louisville got consecutive strong starts from Michael Kirian and Luke Seed to tally wins on Friday and Saturday.

SERIES HISTORY

Tuesday will be the 111th Battle of the Bluegrass contest. Kentucky leads the all-time series 63-46-1, but the Cardinals own a narrow 29-28-1 advantage in Louisville. The in-state rivals have met in all but two seasons since 1985. The two teams did not meet in 2020 because of the cancellation of the season due to COVID-19 and had both matchups rained out in 2002.

The Cardinals swept the season series against Kentucky during the 2019 season. Louisville grabbed an 8-3 victory over the Wildcats at Jim Patterson Stadium and then broke out the bats for an 18-6 win in Lexington. The 18 runs were the second-most ever scored by the Cardinals in the rivalry.

TEAM NOTES

·        Louisville has an .846 winning percentage (110-20) in regular season non-conference games since the start of 2016, including a 88-8 (.917) mark in regular season non-conference home games.

·        Louisville’s offense ranks among the best in the ACC this season. The Cardinals currently lead the ACC in runs, hits, RBIs, on-base percentage, triples, total bases and stolen bases, while ranking second in batting average and slugging percentage, and third in walks and hit by pitches.

·        The Cardinals have been the one of the best in the country on the basepaths this season with 74 stolen bases, 43 more than anyone in the ACC. Levi Usher leads the ACC and country with 21, while Cooper Bowman is tied for second with 11, Luke Brown fourth with 10, and Henry Davis fifth with eight.

PLAYER NOTES

·        Henry Davis has been the most consistent hitter for the Cardinals this season. Davis saw his 23-game hitting streak come to an end in the second game at Notre Dame, the first game he didn’t record a hit this season. The sophomore is tied for first in the ACC in RBIs while ranking second in batting average and on-base percentage, and third in hits and total bases. Davis also ranks fifth with eight stolen bases after having just one through his first two seasons at Louisville.

·        Alex Binelas has seen his bat start to heat up over the last two weeks. Over the last 10 games, the sophomore is hitting .324 (12-for-37) with two triples, three home runs, 13 RBIs and 10 runs scored. Binelas recorded two triples against Western Kentucky, becoming the first Louisville player with two triples in a game since Ty Young did so against Notre Dame on March 28, 2013.

·        Trey Leonard is having the best season of his Louisville career in 2021. The junior currently leads the team with a .407 batting average. Leonard had a career night at Cincinnati going 4-for-6 with three RBIs against and hitting a go-ahead home run in the sixth, a game-tying double in the eighth and adding another double in the 10th.

·        Cooper Bowman slid into the leadoff spot for the three-game series at Georgia Tech and made an immediate impact. In 18 games in the leadoff spot, Bowman is 25-for-73 (.342) with six home runs, 11 RBIs and 21 runs scored. Bowman hit a leadoff homer on March 7 at Georgia Tech was the first for the Cardinals since Corey Ray at Miami on March 18, 2016. One game later, he became the first Cardinal since Alex Binelas in 2019 to homer twice in a single game.

·        Christian Knapczyk has started the last 18 games at shortstop for the Cardinals and has been a sparkplug at the bottom of the UofL lineup. The freshman is 22-for-65 (.338) in his 18 starts, tallying seven doubles, two triples, 15 RBIs and scoring 14 times. Knapczyk has a hit in 17 of the 20 games he’s played in this season.

·        Levi Usher set a Louisville school record (since 2000) with five stolen bases in the win over Murray State. Usher is the national leader in stolen bases with 21, 10 more than anyone else in the ACC. Since joining the Cardinals, Usher is 32-of-35 (21-for-23 this year) on the basepaths in 42 career games.

·        Michael Kirian has smoothly made the transition from closer to weekend starter this season. The southpaw took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in the series opener at NC State and tallying a career-high 13 strikeouts. He improved to 5-0 on the season with a win over Wake Forest, picking up 11 Ks for his second career double-digit strikeout effort. Since the start of the 2019 season, Kirian has a 1.74 ERA in 72.1 innings with 93 strikeouts.

·        Luke Seed has started each of the last three weekends for the Cardinals. The left-hander has allowed just three earned runs in 16.2 innings for a 1.62 ERA. Seed has allowed just one run in all three starts, working 6.2 innings at Notre Dame and then 7.0 in game two against Wake Forest.

·        Kaleb Corbett has made a massive impact in his first season with the Cardinals. The right-hander has made 11 relief appearances, finishing eight games with four saves. Corbett started his collegiate career with 17.1 scoreless innings before stumbling in the 10th inning at Cincinnati.


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STEPHEN WILLIAMS | Assistant Sports Information Director | Louisville Athletics

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