Solak stays hot for Louisville baseball

University of Louisville sophomore outfielder Nick Solak is one of the hottest hitters on perhaps the hottest team in the country. Solak has a 14-game hitting streak heading into Tuesday's game at Cincinnati. at 6 o'clock.

The University of Louisville baseball team has win three Atlantic Coast Conference weekly honors already this season with Corey Ray, Josh Rogers and Kyle Funkhouser winning awards.

But perhaps the hottest player on the team is not one of those three.

Nope. Sophomore outfielder Nick Solak has a 14-game hitting streak heading into Tuesday nights 6 o'clock game at Cincinnati. He's hitting .385 in 21 ACC games.

"I think for me it's just not trying to do too much," Solak said. "Just make sure I do the little things, stay prepared and try to do a little less.

"As coach keeps telling me, I just have to let the game come to me."

The native of Woodridge, Ill., has hit safely in 14 straight games since going 0-for-4 against Indiana on March 24. During his streak, the longest of the season by any U of L player, Solak has five multi-hit games and was 5 of 11 in a three-game series sweep last weekend against Wake Forest.

"He's really playing well," U of L coach Dan McDonnell said. "He's been consistent for us all season but is really swinging it well."

For the season, Solak is hitting .327 with a team-high 11 doubles, 25 RBI, 27 runs scored and 14 stolen bases in 15 attempts. He has 17 RBIs and 17 runs scored in ACC play.

Solak had a hit in seven of his first eight games but then went through a stretch of nine games where he had a total of just five hits. He said he didn't think he was pressing too much at the time, but just needed to let the game come to him.

"Coach Mac is always on me and tell me to just relax," Solak said. "I might have been pressing a bit early on, but I think it's more about just staying relaxed. I just need to let my hands when I am hitting do the work."

In a 10-1 win in the first game of a Saturday doubleheader against Wake Forest, Solak was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. His slugging percentage is .415 and his on-base percentage is currently .422.

It could also be the hair for Solak.

He started the season with long locks but saw Blake Tiberi get a hair cut and start hitting, so he went to team barber Sutton Whiting for a trim.

"I thought a change might be nice," Solak said. "I guess it worked."

Solak has batted in the No. 2 spot in the order every game this season and earned that spot last season with his sensational postseason run.

As a true freshman, Solak played in 47 games and made 26 starts for the Cardinals. During the AAC Tournament, Solak helped fuel the team's run to the title game, going 9-13 with 6 RBIs. In the Super Regional game against Kennesaw State, Solak had a home run and drove in three runs as the Cardinals' clinched a berth into the College World Series.

Solak finished the season hitting .351 with two home runs, 25 RBIs and 28 runs scored. He was the hottest hitter on the team in the postseason and he's back at it again.

"I'm not too worried about (streaks)," Solak said. "I just need to stay patient, relax and do my job like everybody has to do. I just need to keep doing what I am doing."

U of L (30-9) has five games this week, including tonights game against the Bearcats and a 6:05 p.m. game tomorrow against Western Kentucky at Jim Paterson Stadium.


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