It's a weekend that could bring a number of firsts for the University of Louisville baseball program, but one first is a certain.
For the first time in program history, U of L will play host to a top-ten meeting as the No.2 Cardinals (38-11, 21-3) welcome No.7 Florida State (36-14, 16-8) to Jim Patterson Stadium for an important ACC Atlantic Division series this weekend.
Other potential firsts that are possible, if not probable, for the Cardinals program this weekend?
- Louisville is on the verge of winning the ACC Atlantic Division title. The Cardinals, who have won Big East and American Athletic titles the past two seasons, need one against the Seminoles to clinch the division crown. In doing so, it will also mark a first for ACC baseball, as it would be the first time a program other than Florida State won the Atlantic Division title - a streak that stretches eight seasons.
"We're excited to be apart of the ACC," U of L head coach Dan McDonnell said on Thursday. "Hopefully we can add some tradition and anything that we can do to help the league get better and help our program, we're excited for that."
- Should Louisville clinch the division this weekend, it will also lock up the the number one seed in the upcoming ACC Tournament.
- One has to think that the new attendance record that was set when 5,056 watched the Cardinals defeat Kentucky last week, could be a short lived mark. The first meeting between the two programs since the days of the Metro Conference is creating a buzz around town. With free admission, free parking and shuttles from Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, not to mention some great promotions, the chances a new record crowd is a possibility.
"I think the fans have grown to respect and support our program," said McDonnell. "I think they enjoy seeing good college baseball and it's a great sports town as we know. With baseball, we starting to add a tradition here in the spring time. It's a lot of fun when the fans come out. We're obviously hoping that they can make some of the games this weekend."
Louisville won the last meeting (1991) between the two programs, but trail the tradition rich FSU program in the overall series 3-17.
"They are in Florida, it's one of the great baseball states in the country," McDonnell said of the Seminoles. "Just about everybody in that state has a good baseball program for a lot of reasons. Traditionally, they've done a great job with the NCAA's and going to Omaha, and of course, Coach Martin."
First pitch for Friday's series opener is scheduled for 6:00p.m., with the games on Saturday and Sunday slated for 1:00p.m. All three contests will be broadcast on ESPN3.