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CARDS Earn No. 1 Ranking, Host Morehead State Tuesday

photo by Taris Smith - UL Athletics

First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET at Jim Patterson Stadium.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – March 1, 2021

Newly minted as the top-ranked team in the country, the University of Louisville baseball team plays host to Morehead State on Tuesday at Jim Patterson Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. and can be seen on ACC Network Extra. Radio coverage will be on 1450 WXVM.

Louisville swept a Saturday doubleheader to pick up a series victory over Western Illinois. The Cardinals got strong pitching efforts on Saturday from their veterans with Michael Kirian and Adam Elliott not allowing an earned run in eight innings in the opening game, while Luke Smith gave up just a single run over five frames in the nightcap.

The Cardinals have been running wild on the basepaths, swiping 25 bags through the first seven games. Louisville leads the country in that category, five more than any other team nationally and nine more than the next-closest ACC team. UofL stole 12 bases in the three games against Western Illinois.

Louisville and Morehead State have played 85 times previously with the Cardinals holding a 50-35 all-time edge. The two programs have met in all but two years (1984 and 1998) dating back to 1972. UofL has owned the series this century, winning 20 straight over the Eagles dating back to 2001, the longest active winning streak for UofL against any opponent.

Following a 6-1 start to the season, the Cardinals are the top-ranked team in the country according to Perfect Game. Louisville opened the season at No. 2 in Perfect Game’s rankings before moving up this week.

This marks the third time Louisville has been the No. 1 team in a poll, holding the top spot for two weeks during March of 2017 and then opening the 2020 season atop the polls.

·        Louisville has an .864 winning percentage (108-17) in regular season non-conference games since the start of 2016, including a 87-7 (.926) mark in regular season non-conference home games.

·        UofL is 46-2 since the start of 2016 in its 16 non-conference home weekends, with the lone losses coming against Indiana State in 2018 and this year to Western Illinois.

·        The Louisville pitching staff holds a team ERA of just 2.00 through seven games. The Cardinals have four pitchers who have made multiple appearances that have yet to yield an earned run this season.

·        The Cardinals have been the best in the country on the basepaths this season with 25 stolen bases, five more than any other team and nine more than anyone in the ACC. Levi Usher is tied for the national lead with seven, while Henry Davis ranks in the top 10 with five. Usher, Davis and Luke Brown are the top three in the ACC.

·        Cameron Masterman had his second straight strong weekend to open the 2021 season, reaching base nine times in three games against Western Illinois. The junior currently ranks near the top of the ACC in home runs (2nd), on-base percentage (2nd), walks (3rd), slugging (4th), batting average (5th) and total bases (7th).

·        Henry Davis has been the most consistent hitter for the Cardinals through seven games, picking up at least one hit in every game so far. Davis is currently hitting .409 and ranks second in the ACC with 10 RBIs. The catcher also ranks second in the conference with five stolen bases after having just one through his first two seasons at Louisville.

·        Michael Kirian took the ball as a starter against Western Illinois for the first time since the 2018 season. The southpaw tossed four scoreless innings, extending his scoreless streak to 12 innings. Kirian’s last run allowed was a solo homer in the ninth inning against Auburn in the College World Series on June 18, 2019. Since the start of the 2019 season, Kirian has a 1.25 ERA in 43.1 innings with 57 strikeouts and just 12 walks.

·        Adam Elliott made 67 relief appearances across his first four seasons at Louisville before taking the ball to start the second game of the series against Bellarmine. Elliott has yet to allow an earned run in eight innings this season. He now sits atop Louisville’s career ERA leaderboard (minimum of 50 innings since records are available in 2000) at 1.72 over his 94 career innings.

·        Luke Smith has won each of his first two starts this season, allowing just one run in each of those starts. Smith is now 11-1 for his Louisville career, including a 5-0 mark and 3.03 ERA in his six starts over the last two seasons.

·        Kaleb Corbett has made a massive impact in his first season with the Cardinals. The right-hander has made three relief appearances, tossing 6.1 scoreless innings with just two hits allowed and 11 strikeouts. Corbett earned the win against Eastern Kentucky and then went the final 3.1 innings in the finale versus Western Illinois for his first career save.

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