Slumping Hall faces ranked Cards
With a seven run comeback against NYIT resulting in a tie, the Pirates baseball team heads to Louisville, Ky. to face the No. 13 team in the nation.
“Louisville is one of the best teams in the country,” senior Chris Fontenelli said. “They don’t make many mistakes.”
The Louisville Cardinals have a record of 30-6 overall and 9-3 Big East and are currently tied for third place in the conference. The Hall has a record of 13-20-1 overall and 3-9 in Big East games.
Heading into the weekend series, the Pirates have not won in their last six games including getting swept by Notre Dame last weekend.
“We have to start sticking together as a team,” senior Matt Singer said. “We need to play tough and pick others up.”
In the Notre Dame series, two of the losses came by one run, with the first game going to extra innings. In the final game the team gave up six unanswered runs to lose 7-4.
“It was a tough weekend,” Singer said. “We have 15 games left and they are all against the top teams.”
On Tuesday, the Hall came back from being down 8-1 in the second inning to tie the game against NYIT.
“The team showed resiliency coming back from being down early,” Fontenelli said. “Hopefully we can carry the momentum into the weekend.”
The Cardinals are on a six game win streak while winning their last four Big East games. Louisville is coming off of a 7-4 win against Western Kentucky, ranked No. 26 nationally.
In the game, the Cardinals scored two runs in the third inning to start the scoring. With four more runs scored in the sixth inning Louisville to take the 7-1 lead.
The Cardinals scored seven runs on 16 hits. Sophomore Ryan Wright and senior Andrew Clark both went 3-5 with an RBI.
On the season, the Cardinals are led by senior Adam Duvall with a .370 batting average at second base while Wright leads the team with 43 RBI’s.
Another part of the success for the Cardinals comes from their pitching staff. Led by junior Thomas Royse the pitching staff has a team ERA of 3.79 and has over a 3.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The Pirates have not played in Louisville since 2006 when they were swept in the final series of the year. The Cardinals played at Owen T. Carroll Field last season where the Hall won the series after winning the first two games.
The baseball team is in the beginning of an eight game road trip, the longest of the season.
So far this season, the team has been unsuccessful in road games with a record of 2-11-1. This is the second Big East team they will face on the road with St. John’s sweeping the Pirates earlier this season.
The Cardinals are starting an eight game home stand starting with No. 26 Western Kentucky before playing Seton Hall this weekend.
“[Louisville] plays great defensively,” Fontenelli said. “They take advantage of their opportunities, are very disciplined at the plate.”
The Pirates are currently placed 10 in the Big East. The Hall is only one game out of the final spot but still have to play the top teams in the Big East.
“We need to start winning series but take it game by game,” Singer said. “In close games we have not been able to go over the top and we can’t give up any at-bats.”
The series starts Friday at 6 p.m. at Jim Patterson Stadium in Louisville, Ky.
Stephen Valenti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org