By Annie Moore
Coming off of a successful weekend at home, the Louisville baseball team
is headed into a daunting week. Five games in seven days. Four teams will
come to town in what head coach Dan McDonnell says would be “A tough
stretch for anyone in college baseball.”
First coming to town is Eastern Illinois University on Tuesday. The
Panthers are 1-6 on the season, including a dropped four-game series
against No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette. Each of Eastern Illinois’ first seven
games has been against ranked opponents, with its only win of the season
in the first game of the Louisiana-Lafayette series. The Panthers come to
town, in a game that should get the Cardinals back on a winning streak.
Next up, Morehead State University comes to Jim Patterson Stadium on
Wednesday. The Eagles have played eight games this season, with a
split record of 4-4. MSU began the season with three consecutive losses,
but has won four of its last five games. Look for junior Brandon Rawe,
who is leading the team in batting average this season. The outfielder is
batting .346 in the first eight games of the season.
Headed in to weekend play, the University of Toledo Rockets come to
town for two games, on Friday and Sunday, with No. 11 Indiana University
sandwiched in the middle for a Saturday headliner game.
Toledo has a 2-3 record on the season, and has not faced a ranked
opponent. But catcher Tyler Baar has come out swinging early in the
season. The junior leads the team in runs scored and is hitting .250, with
an on-base percentage of .412. Toledo specializes in scoring later in
games, scoring 17 of its 21 runs this season in or after the fifth inning.
The game against Louisville will be Toledo’s second of the day, so fatigue
could be a factor.
Finally, the Indiana Hoosiers are coming to town for Louisville’s first game
of the season against a ranked opponent. But, Indiana isn’t exactly coming
in hot, the Hoosiers have lost five of the last six games. The season has
started a dismal 2-5 and Indiana is looking for a quality win to get back on
pace. It will take on Toledo on Friday morning, before facing the Cardinals.
The early games should be wins for Louisville, defeating Eastern Illinois
and Morehead State will build confidence going into the weekend. But the
biggest challenge for coach McDonnell and the rest of the team will be
figuring out a pitching rotation that will carry the Cards through the long
My prediction: The Cards win four of five, dropping one game against
Toledo to advance to 9-3 on the season.