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Opponent Preview: Louisville

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Meet the Cardinals... One of college baseball’s premier programs

COLLEGE BASEBALL: MAY 27 ACC Baseball Championship Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: Louisville

Mascot: The NC State Bird | School Location: Louisville, KY | Conference: ACC

2021 Record: 11-5 (4-2, 2nd Atlantic) | 2021 RPI Rank: 67

2020 Record: 13-4 (2-1, 3rd Atlantic) | 2020 RPI Rank: 35

2019 Record: 49-16 (21-9, 1st Atlantic) | 2019 RPI Rank: 9


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: Doak Field at Dail Park (Raleigh, NC)

Game Time(s): Friday, Mar 19 @ 6:30pm | Saturday, Mar 20 @ 2:00pm | Sunday, Mar 21 @ 11:00am

TV: ACCNX (Friday | Saturday | Sunday)

Radio: TuneIn App, GoPack (Friday | Saturday | Sunday)

Live Stats: Sidearm Stats


Tell me about this team

In case you didn’t know, Louisville is very very good at baseball. Dan McConnell took over a middling program in 2007 and has turned it into an absolute beast. Five College World Series appearances, including four of the last seven, in that time says all you need to know.

The roster is stacked with names that will be called in future drafts, including five players who are potential 3rd round or higher prospects for the 2021 MLB Draft. Two of those guys aren’t even mentioned in the ‘Key Players’ section below because this team is so stacked (and those guys have underperformed a bit of late).

This is a typical Louisville team: aggressive on the bases and will play for the big inning, while possessing power strikeout pitchers on the mound.


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Friday: LHP Michael Kirian (JR)

Saturday: RHP Glenn Albanese (JR)

Sunday: TBD


Key Players:

Offense

C Henry Davis (SO) - .411/.514/.679, 3 2B, 4 HR, 12 R, 16 RBI, 11 BB, 3 K, 8-8 SB. We say Adrian Del Castillo from Miami a couple weeks ago, who’s currently a consensus 1st round pick in 2021. Davis is hitting his way into the same category. Think Luca Tresh with a better BB:K ratio.

2B Cooper Bowman (SO) - .370/.492/.696, 3 2B, 4 HR, 13 R, 11 RBI, 9 BB, 5 K, 5-6 SB. JUCO transfer who has been on fire of late: 11-for-24 with 4 HR over the last six games.

OF/DH Cameron Masterman (JR) - .333/.469/.647, 1 2B, 5 HR, 11 R, 12 RBI, 11 BB, 12 K. Cam out of the gates on fire this year, but has cooled off of late. Solid hitter who has waited his time in the program to finally get a shot.

OF/3B/UT Lucas Dunn (JR) - .298/.408/.421, 4 2B, 1 HR, 12 R, 9 RBI, 9 BB, 9 K, 4-4 SB. Solid all around player with the ability to play anywhere in the field. Garnering a lot of draft attention, although his “jack of all trades, master of none” will keep him from being a 1st rounder.

SS Christian Knapczyk (FR) - .448/.556/.655, 4 2B, 1 3B, 10 R, 8 RBI, 6 BB, 4 K, 3-4 SB. Undersized freshman who broke his way into the lineup and has done nothing but hit since. His 0-2 day vs Eastern Kentucky Tuesday snapped a 9-game hitting streak to start his career.

Pitching

LHP Michael Kirian (JR) - 3-0, 0.56 ERA, 16.0 IP, 13 H, 4 BB, 14 K. Big 6’6, 260 lbs lefty moved from being the team’s closer in 2019 and 2020 (11 SV total) to the Friday night guy this year. Results so far: Excellent.

RHP Glenn Albanese (JR) - 2-0, 0.96 ERA, 9.1 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 12 K. Another big frame on the mound with this 6’6, 240 pounder. His Cards career has been slow building as a TJS recoveree. Has been phenomenal in his two starts, including holding Boston College to one hit over 4.1 IP last weekend. Mid-to-upper 90’s fastball. If the results continue, he’s a potential 1st rounder.

RHP Jack Perkins (SO) - 1-0, 1 SV, 4.00 ERA, 9.0 IP, 7 H, 8 BB, 8 K. Was a key reliever in 2019 as a freshman (he recorded his lone save that year vs NC State), before losing the 2020 season due to TJS. Has a virtually-unhittable curve that plays up even better thanks to a mid-90s heater that has hit as high as 98.

LHP Adam Elliott (SR) - 1-1, 1 SV, 3.71 ERA, 17.0 IP, 13 H, 5 BB, 21 K. Fifth year on the diamond for the Cards for the hometown kid. Started the year in the weekend rotation, but got lit up by Georgia Tech in his second start so he’s back to the bullpen now. Take out that GT game and his total line is: 14.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 19 K.

RHP Kaleb Corbett (FR) - 1-0, 2 SV, 0.00 ERA, 11.1 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 17 K. An under-the-radar hometown kid who has played a key role for the bullpen in his first year on campus. Converted high school position player.

LHP Tate Kuehner (FR) - 1-2, 4.91 ERA, 11.0 IP, 6 H, 6 BB, 15 K. As you’d expect from a freshman, even a second year freshman, Kuehner’s been hit or miss: three really bad outings and three really good ones.


Quick! Fun Facts!

NC State is just 4-12 against Louisville all-time.

Neither team has a player from the other team’s home state.

Louisville had eight former players appear in an MLB game in 2020 (OF Adam Engel, P Nick Burdi, P Kyle Funkhouser, IF Nick Solak, C Will Smith, P Zack Burdi, OF Adam Duvall, P Chad Green).


Prediction

Oh boy...

Outcome: Louisville takes the Friday and Saturday games while State salvages the Sunday tilt.