LOUISVILLE REMAINS RED-HOT; ONLY UNDEFEATED TEAM IN NATION
The Louisville Cardinals are the only undefeated team in the nation and have ascended to the No. 1 spot in several college baseball polls.
Louisville (15-0) is ranked No. 1 in the nation for the first time in school history after the unbeaten Cardinals ascended to the top spot in this week’s Baseball America, Perfect Game and USA Today Sports Coaches polls released Monday.
UL is off its best start since the 1957 team set a school record with a perfect 17-0 mark. The 15-game winning streak it tied with Missouri for the longest active streak in the nation.
The highest previous national ranking for Louisville was No. 2 during the first two weeks of the 2016 season. The Cardinals were also the No. 2 national seed in last year’s NCAA Championship.
Louisville opened its Atlantic Coast Conference slate with a three-game sweep of Pittsburgh last weekend at Jim Patterson Stadium. Two-way standout Brendan McKay starred in the series win over the Panthers. The junior left-hander recorded a career-high 15 strikeouts in seven scoreless innings in the 3-0 win in the series opener.
McKay is 3-0 with 0.30 ERA in three starts for the Cardinals this season. He has recoded 29 strikeouts in 19 innings and has been involved in two of the team’s five shutouts. McKay is also the team’s leading hitter with a .548 batting average (23-for-42) with 14 runs scored, four home runs and 16 RBIs. He also leads the Cardinals with a .905 slugging percentage and .621 on-base mark through 14 games.
Under the guidance of head coach Dan McDonnell, Louisville has enjoyed a historic run by remaining ranked in at least one major national poll every week since the release of the 2012 preseason rankings — the longest such span in school history. Ranked in the top 12 in all six major preseason polls for 2017, the Cardinals have received a preseason top 10 ranking in five straight seasons (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) and have earned a preseason national ranking in 10 straight seasons (2008-2017) overall.
While at the helm in Louisville, McDonnell has guided the Cardinals to three College World Series berths, six NCAA Super Regional appearances, nine NCAA Regional bids, seven regular season conference championships, two conference tournament titles and 29 All-Americans.
MISSOURI TIGERS EQUAL BEST START:
Missouri (15-1) had equaled the best start in school history, matching the 1985 team that also opened with a 15-1 record. The 1985 Tigers opened with 14 straight wins before a 4-3 loss to Utah. Mizzou finished with a 36-27 record (7-17 Big Eight record) and did not make the post season.
Mizzou went 5-0 last week with two walk-off wins over Western Carolina (7-6, 10 innings) on Wednesday and Appalachian State (3-2) on Sunday. Junior infielder Robbie Glendinning had both walk-off hits for the Tigers. Mizzou now has three walk-off wins since March 5 and is now 8-0 in games decided by two or fewer runs and 6-0 in one-run contests. Mizzou also has two wins this season when trailing after eight innings.
All of this has been done under first year Mizzou head coach Steve Bieser, who is off to the best start by any coach in school history in his first year. Bieser and his staff have Mizzou ranked in the top four in the SEC in nearly every offensive category while the team’s .332 clip leads the SEC. Mizzou is second in slugging, second in on-base and second in doubles and total bases under Bieser and his pitch recognition program.
Glendinning (Scarborough, Australia) was named SEC Co-Player of Week on Monday. The Australia native notched a pair of walk-off singles and hit a team-high .476 as Mizzou extended its national-best winning streak to 15 games. On the best offensive team in the SEC, Glendinning has emerged as the top offensive weapon for the Tigers. He ranks third in the SEC in batting (.429) and on-base percentage (.540) while checking in at fifth overall in slugging (.694).
Missouri opens SEC play at Alabama this weekend. All three games will be televised by the SEC Network.
OLE MISS PITCHING ZEROES IN AGAINST FURMAN:
Ole Miss posted three straight shutouts in its weekend sweep of Furman at Swayze-Field in Oxford.
The Rebels got outstanding starting pitching from junior left-hander David Parkinson, sophomore right-hander Brady Fiegl and freshman right-hander Greer Holston. The trio worked 23 scoreless innings and allowed six hits with 25 strikeouts and three walks.
Parkinson took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in Friday’s opener. He allowed one hit in eight scoreless frames and recorded nine strikeouts. He was named the SEC Pitcher of the Week on Monday for his efforts.
Junior right-hander Will Stokes (2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K) had two scoreless outings and recorded his fourth save of the season in Friday’s opener.
Feigl worked a career-high eight innings with 10 strikeouts in a 5-0 win over Furman on Saturday.
Holston tossed seven scoreless innings in his first weekend start for the Rebels in Sunday’s finale. He worked seven scoreless innings and allowed two hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
Sophomore right-handers Andy Pagnozzi (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K) earned his second win while Dallas Woolfolk (1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K) posted his fourth save in the finale.
Mount St. Mary’s (0-11), Columbia (0-7) and Brown (0-6) are the only winless college baseball teams. Six teams picked up their first win of the season over the weekend, including Maryland-Eastern Shore, Penn, Princeton, St. Joseph’s, UMass and Western Illinois.
Mount St. Mary’s (0-11) is one of three winless teams in Division I baseball. Mount St. Mary’s sports the fifth-worst ERA (11.46 ERA) and the seventh-worst fielding percentage (.932) in the nation this season. The Mountaineers own an NCAA-leading 20-game losing streak dating back to the 2016 season. Mount St. Mary’s last win was a 2-1 victory over LIU Brooklyn on April 30, 2016.
Columbia (0-7) has lost all seven games this season, after going 0-4 against South Alabama and Miss. State in Starkville this weekend. The Lions held the lead over Miss. State on both games but eventually fell to the Bulldogs. MSU needed a walk-off single to defeat Columbia 5-4 on Sunday and then overcame a six-run deficit to overpower the Lions 11-8 on Monday morning.
Brown (0-6) is winless through its first six games of the season. The Bears have struggled on offense this season, scoring 12 total runs through the first six games. Brown has the fifth-worst scoring offense in the nation with 2.0 runs scored per game. Brown lost three close games at Texas A&M over the weekend, falling 6-4, 3-2 and 5-1 in the three-game set at Blue Bell Park.
COLLEGE BASEBALL NOTEBOOK:
Austin Peay senior right-hander Alex Robles was instrumental in the Governors’ three-game sweep of OVC preseason favorite Jacksonville State in the conference opener for both teams this weekend in Clarksville. Robles fired a complete-game, 3-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts in the Govs series-clinching 4-0 win on Saturday. He capped the weekend with a walk-off home run in the 14th inning to give APSU the 6-5 win and series sweep on Sunday. For his efforts, he was named to the OVC Pitcher of the Week.
Coastal Carolina got back-to-back home runs from Kevin Woodall, Jr. and Peyton Isaacson in the ninth inning to lift the Chanticleers to a 3-2 walk-off win versus Illinois in game one of a Saturday doubleheader at Springs Brooks Stadium. Illinois starting pitcher Ty Weber took a no hitter into the eighth inning before CCU’s Billy Cooke laid down a bunt single with two outs. Zack Jones came out of the bullpen for the Illini and ended the eighth for Illinois by getting a strikeout. Relief pitcher Ryan Schmitt (0-1) got a quick out in the ninth before Woodall and Isaacson accounted for CCU’s second and third hits with their consecutive home runs to provide the winning margin.
Maryland-Eastern Shore (2-11) picked up its first win of the season with a home series win over Iona this past weekend. UMES snapped its season-opening 10-game losing streak with a 6-1 win over Iona on Friday. UMES followed with a 4-3 win in game one of Saturday’s double header to clinch the series. Iona avoided the sweep with a 2-0 win in the series finale.
Penn (2-7) recorded its first two wins of the season with a series win over Fairfield in Port St. Lucie, Fla., over the weekend. Penn snapped is six-game losing streak with a 6-3 win over the Stags in game one of Saturday’s double-header. Right fielder Tim Graul and third baseman Matt McGeagh homered in the win for the Quakers. Penn claimed the series with an 8-0 win on Sunday. First baseman Sean Phelan went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs in the win. Second baseman Chris Adams went 2-for-5 with three runs scored and belted a 2-run home run.
Princeton (2-5) picked up series win at UNC Greensboro over the weekend. The Tigers posted their first win of the season with a 5-3 win on Friday. Third baseman Ramzi Haddad stroked a go-ahead home run and DH Conor Nolan capped the two-run inning with an RBI single. Princeton posted a 10-5 series-clinching win on Saturday.
Saint Joseph’s (1-11) snapped its season-opening 10-game losing streak with a 3-2 win at William & Mary on Saturday. Right fielder Charlie Concannon belted a 2-run home run in the sixth inning to give the Hawks their first win of the season.
UC Irvine junior infielder Cole Kreuter was named the Big West Conference Player of the Week after leading the Anteaters to a home series win over No. 1 ranked TCU. Kreuter had three hits and three RBIs in Friday’s 11-2 series-opening win. He belted a 2-run home run to highlight a four-run first inning as UC Irvine posted a 6-3 series-clinching win on Saturday.
UMass (2-4) picked up its first win of the season with a series victory over Maine in Delray Beach, Fla. After losing game one of the series to fall to 0-4 on the season, the Minutemen bounced back with a 5-1 win on Saturday and 10-6 victory on Sunday for the series win.
Western Illinois (1-12) snapped its season-opening 11-game losing streak with 7-5, 10-inning win at Dayton on Sunday. The Leathernecks got a pair of runs in the top of the frame on an RBI ground out and throwing error. Right fielder Drue Galassi led the way with three hits, while left fielder Roman Visintine added two RBIs.