Following a 6-2 victory over No. 25 Vanderbilt at Jim Patterson Stadium, 2nd-ranked Louisville (43-6) will leave the friendly confines for its final road trip of the regular season.
The Cardinals will travel to No. 7 Clemson for an ACC three-game series that could decide the winner of the Atlantic Division before traveling to Bloomington, Ind., for a Tuesday night meeting against Indiana.
Both are expected to be difficult challenges for the Cardinals as Clemson enters the week at No. 7 in the latest RPI ratings, while the Hoosiers check in at No. 23.
The Tigers (37-12, 16-8) trail U of L by four games in the ACC divisional race. The two last met during last season's ACC Tournament, with Clemson defeating the Cardinals 5-3. U of L trails in the overall series 5-9, but is 5-3 since joining the ACC. Louisville is 2-1 at Clemson as an ACC member.
Indiana, coached by former U of L assistant Chris Lemonis, is 27-18-2 overall and working to get in position for an NCAA postseason bid. The Hoosiers lead the all-time series 26-22 and have won seven of the last nine meetings. Louisville won at home last season 9-2, but haven't won in Bloomington since defeating the Hoosiers 21-4 in April 2012.
The difficult end-of-the-season schedule continues when Louisville returns home to host Florida State in the regular season finale. The Seminoles are currently No. 27 in that RPI and are a lock for a postseason birth.
"These teams are all playing in the NCAAs," said head coach Dan McDonnell. "It leads into the ACC Tournament and it leads into the post-season, so the reality from here on out, we have to play. There's no excuse. You can't show up slow. You can't fall behind and think you're going to swing your way back into it."
The series against the 7th-ranked Tigers begins on Friday at 1:00 p.m., ET at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Cardinals and Tigers will continue their series Saturday at 4 p.m., and Sunday at noon. The fi rst two games of the weekend will be televised on ACC Network Extra, while Sunday’s game will be televised on ESPN2.
Louisville is No. 6 in this week’s NCAA RPI and among five ACC schools in the top 11 spots. The Cardinals are No. 1 in the nation in shutouts, second in ERA, second in WHIP, third in hits allowed per 9 IP, 12th in strikeout-to-walk ratio, 14th in fielding percentage, 15th in strikeouts per 9 IP, 19th in scoring, 19th in hit-by-pitch, 22nd in stolen bases and 24th in on-base percentage.
The Cardinals have a 40-0 record this season when leading after eight innings.
Louisville is 10-2 in road ACC series this season.
Louisville is in position to win its third consecutive ACC Atlantic Division regular season title. The magic number for the Cardinals to clinch the division is three.
U of L is competing against No. 3 North Carolina for the top-seed in the ACC Tournament, currently leading the Tar Heels by a game.
Home Run, Batting Race
Juniors Brendan McKay and Drew Ellis are competing against each other for the team lead in home runs. Batting fourth (McKay) and fifth (Ellis) in the batting order, the pair have each had times during the season when they've been tops on the team, with McKay currently holding the lead by two with 15 home runs on the season.
"There's a little friendly competition going on," Ellis said. "Now that he's two ahead of me I need to catch up, but it's fun to play behind him. He's special to watch."
While McKay leads among home runs, Ellis leads the squad with a .384 batting average, with McKay closely behind at .379.
The pair ranks seventh and eighth nationally in slugging percentage, with McKay at .733 and Ellis at .715.