The Cardinals, who will be looking to even their season record against the visiting Eagles this week, have had their share of narrow defeats during the young season. Three of U of L's defeats have come by one run, including a 13 inning effort against Southern Illinois. The Cardinals have also dropped one run games to Southern Miss and Stetson, which also holds impressive victories over LSU and South Florida.
Senior outfielder Isaiah Howes, who has started each game this season, is off to the hottest start at the plate. The Pleasure Ridge Park product was a key factor in Louisville's late-season run to the conference title game last year, batting .363 over the final 28 games of the 2006 season and his hot bat has continued into 2007. Howes, a career .283 hitter entering the season, is currently leading the team with a scorching .435 average and 3 doubles.
Three additional regulars are also hitting at a better than .300 clip. Daniel Burton (.335), Logan Johnson (.333) and Chris Dominguez (.316) are all finding frequent success at the plate. Burton leads the team with 11 total hits, while Johnson and Dominguez, who has played in just four games, are tied for the home run lead at two and have combined for 15 runs batted in.
Despite entering his senior year as one of the Cardinals more consistent hitters, shortstop Chris Cates, a preseason All-Big East selection, is off to a slow start this season, batting just .182 in seven games.
While pitcher Zach Pitts, a product of Elizabethtown (Ky.) High School, started just four games for U of L in 2006, this season expects to be a bit busier for the junior. After two appearances on the mound, Pitts (1-1) leads the Cardinals with a perfect .000 ERA and strikeouts with 10.
This time last year Tyler Mathis was preparing for an eventual Tennessee Class AA state title run, now he's already started two games and leads U of L with 10.2 innings of work. After making two starts on the mound, Mathis (1-0) holds a 4.22 ERA and has struck out five. Fellow true freshman Justin Marks, a product of Owensboro (Ky.) Catholic, is second on the team with 8 strikeouts.
Kyle Thornton, who compiled a school-record and NJCAA-leading 17 saves last year at Cowley County (Kan.) C.C., has made three appearances, working four innings and striking out six.
In addition to Morehead State visiting on Wednesday, U of L will host Illinois State, Western Kentucky, California, Xavier and others over the course of the next three weeks. Illinois State and Xavier are both three-game series.
The Cardinals will begin Big East play the weekend of March 23 when they travel to Villanova for a three-game set. A week later U of L will open home conference play when West Virginia visits Jim Patterson Stadium.
Admission to all home games is free.