Stretch Drive Breakdown: UofL

College Baseball

The college baseball regular season is only two weeks from completion so I thought this would be the perfect chance to look at each of the six division one school’s postseason prospects. We’ll start with No. 9 University of Louisville. The Cards are one-half game behind Connecticut for first place in the Big East with two series left in the regular season.

UofL hosts fourth-place St. Johns this weekend before traveling to eighth-place Notre Dame next week. UCONN travels to fifth-place South Florida this week before hosting 11th-place Seton Hall in the final weekend. The Cards have wrapped up a NCAA regional host slot with the No. 5 RPI and probably would earn on of the eight national seeds if the season ended today. Wrapping up the Big East regular season title would likely cement that national seed.

(You can see the field of 64 projection here and the Baseball America stock report here.)

UK, UofL preview; Clark, Kiekhefer, Hill honored

College Baseball
Basketball season is officially over and the Major League Baseball season is officially underway, but college baseball takes the spotlight again today in the Bluegrass with the first game between the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville. Check out some preview links below and some weekly honors:
  • Brett Dawson of the Courier-Journal previews tonight’s UK/UofL showdown and reports the players say it’s not just another game.
  • Aaron Smith of the Kentucky Kernel reports UK has had this game circled on its calendar.
  • UK Athletics previews the contest.
  • Eric Lindsey of “Cat Scratches” writes the rivalry game presents a win-win opportunity for UK to turn its season around.
  • UofL senior first baseman Andrew Clark was named the Big East Player of the week, and junior left-handed pitcher Dean Kiekhefer was named to the pitching honor roll.
  • Murray State University senior outfielder Daniel Hill was named the Ohio Valley Conference player of the week.
  • UofL stayed at No. 9 and Western Kentucky University dropped to No. 21 in the latest Baseball America rankings.

Clark, Wright lead UofL to 12-4 blowout of Villanova

College Baseball

The seventh-ranked University of Louisville tallied a series opening blowout win against Villanova 12-4 Thursday behind nine combined hits from senior first baseman Andrew Clark and sophomore shortstop Ryan Wright. Clark homered twice in the game, and Wright added a long ball of his own. Junior right-handed ace Thomas Royse earned his sixth win of the season after allowing four runs in six and one-third innings.

Senior catcher Jeff Arnold was 3-4 with two runs scored in the game, and freshman designated hitter Zak Wasserman tallied two hits. Highly touted freshman right-handed pitcher Matt Koch made his season debut with a scoreless ninth inning. The win moved the Cards to 22-3 on the season. (Box Score)

BluGrass Baseball POG: Andrew Clark — The senior first baseman hasn’t missed a beat since returning from a three-week absence with a rib cage injury. Clark was 5-5 with two home runs, five RBI and four runs scored in the game Thursday. On the season he is batting .415 with five home runs, 23 RBI and 13 runs scored in 12 games.

BA picks Louisville to win the Big East; Four to All-Conference team

College Baseball

Baseball America today selected the University of Louisville as its preseason Big East Conference favorites. The rankings were part of the magazine’s region-by-region 2010 NCAA baseball preview. In addition to being selected as preseason favorites, UofL also boasts for members of the preseason All-Big East team. First baseman Andrew Clark, outfielder Josh Richmond, designated hitter Phil Wunderlich and starting pitcher Thomas Royse headline the team. The four Cardinals were the most players from any school selected to the roster.

Freshman right-handed pitcher Matt Koch ranked second on the top newcomers list, and Richmond, Royse, outfielder Stewart IJames and Clark were included on the top 2010 draft prospects list for the conference. Right-handed pitcher Tony Zych, shortstop Ryan Wright, right-handed pitcher Derek Self and left-handed pitcher Keith Landers were selected as top 2011 draft prospects.

(Read BA’s entire north region preview, including the Big East, American East, A-10, Ivy, MAAC and Northeast conferences)