By Derek DeBurger

Louisville baseball will try to bounce back from losing their first ACC series with the matchups against the preseason No. 1 team and a cross-town battle.

Louisville begins this week with the Bellarmine Knights. Bellarmine began their season by winning the first game then losing their next 18. Most of the games during their current skid have not been very close, but few have been total blowouts. The flip side of the Knights’ ability to stay somewhat close is that their schedule has been extremely light. Louisville will be the first power-conference opponent that the Knights have played this season. The Cards have the chance to hit the ground running in the battle for Derby City. However, weekday games can be fickle and the Cards can’t afford to drop an easy game. Louisville should come out victorious, but they still need to fight for it.

The weekend series will be against the No. 16 Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Once considered the unanimous No. 1 team in the preseason, the Demon Deacons have fallen in back-to-back weeks. Wake will certainly be hungry to prove why they were the top projected team and make an example out of Louisville. One of the major reasons Wake was projected so highly at the start of the season was the amount of talent on this team. They have five of the top 30 MLB prospects in college according to

This includes three of their starting pitchers: Chase Burns, Josh Hartle, and Michael Massey. Wake’s bullpen was supposed to be their strength at the start of the year, but they have not held up their end of the bargain— both starters and relievers. The Deacons have given up double-digit runs in four of their last five contests, and 8+ runs in three more games. The Cards have been one of the best offensive teams so far this season, so they should be able to take advantage of the underwhelming pitching staff of Wake.

Wake’s offense has not disappointed this season, averaging 8.8 runs per game, or 43rd most nationally. A huge chunk of the Deacons’ scoring comes from home runs. Wake has 35 home runs on the season and 42 doubles, ranking 22nd and 56th, respectively. The one drawback is Wake’s batting average is very pedestrian. They have done a good job improving their on-base percentage by drawing walks, but they are still only slightly better than average. If the bullpen of the Cards can get batters to chase then they’ll do their work for them. If the Deacons stay patient then the Cards will have a tough time keeping them off the scoreboard.

This will be a tough weekend for the Cards, and one that could serve as a mile-marker for the season. Win or lose, we will surely find a lot out about this Cardinal team.

Photo Courtesy // Caleb Jones, U of L Athletics