Louisville opens Big East tourney vs. WVU

Ninth-ranked Louisville opens the Big East tournament Wednesday at 5 p.m. against West Virginia. The regular-season league champions, the Cardinals are looking for their third consecutive Big East Tournament title this week in Clearwater, Fla.

The ninth-ranked Louisville baseball team enters this week's BIG EAST Championship in Clearwater, Fla., as the No. 1 seed and will play No. 8 seed West Virginia on Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET, at Bright House Field.

Live play-by-play of Wednesday's game, along with all of the Cardinals' post-season games, will be aired by KOOL 1570 AM and will be available online through CardsTV at www.UofLSports.com. Live scoring and live video (by subscription) of the entire BIG EAST Championship will be available at www.BIGEAST.org.

The winner of the U of L-WVU game will face the winner of the No. 4 St. John's-No. 5 USF first round game on Thursday at 8 p.m., while the losing teams from the first round games will play at 5 p.m. ET on Thursday in an elimination game. The other side of the BIG EAST Championship bracket includes first matchups of No. 2 Connecticut vs. No. 7 Cincinnati and No. 3 Pittsburgh vs. No. 6 Rutgers. The BIG EAST Championship title game is set for Sunday at noon ET and will be televised nationally by ESPNU.


Louisville will pursue a third Big East Tournament title in a row under Dan McDonnell this week in Clearwater, Florida.(Darrell Russell)
Louisville enters this week's BIG EAST Championship at 46-10 overall and ranked as high as No. 9 in the latest Baseball America national poll. The 46 wins are a regular season school record for the Cardinals and are just one shy of the overall school record win total first set by the 2007 College World Series team and matched by last year's NCAA Super Regional squad.

The Cardinals arrive in Clearwater as the reigning back-to-back BIG EAST Tournament champions with wins in 2008 and 2009 and a title game appearance in 2006. Louisville's best performances at the BIG EAST Championship have come at Bright House Field, where the Cardinals have an 11-2 record in the three previous tournaments.

Louisville clinched its second straight BIG EAST regular season title and the No. 1 seed in this week's tournament with a series sweep at Notre Dame last weekend. The Cardinals completed the title triumph by sweeping Saturday's doubleheader against the Irish, marking the second straight season they clinched the conference title with a doubleheader sweep on the final weekend.

West Virginia enters the BIG EAST Championship at 27-28 overall following a series win against Villanova. The Mountaineers entered the final day of the regular season needing a home win over the Wildcats and the Cardinals' doubleheader sweep at Notre Dame to clinch the eighth and final spot in this week's tournament and that is exactly what happened.

This will be the first time Louisville and West Virginia have met in the BIG EAST Championship. Earlier this season, the Cardinals earned a series sweep of the Mountaineers with wins of 8-1, 12-9 and 10-1 on April 17-18 in Morgantown. Louisville also holds a 9-4 advantage in the all-time series with WVU.

Royce, seven other Cards receive All-Conference honors

Louisville junior right-handed pitcher Thomas Royse was named 2010 BIG EAST Conference Pitcher of the Year, while seven other Cardinals were honored as All-BIG EAST selections at Tuesday night's BIG EAST Championship Opening Ceremonies at Bright House Field.

Royse, a native of Lexington, Ky., becomes the third Louisville player to be named BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year in the last four seasons, joining 2007 winner Zack Pitts and 2009 honoree Justin Marks. Royse went 9-1 with a 2.71 earned-run average in helping the Cardinals to a school record 46 regular-season wins. As Louisville's Friday starter, he went 5-1 in nine BIG EAST starts, striking out 60 in 62 innings and leading the Cardinals to their second straight BIG EAST regular-season title.

Joining Royse as First Team All-BIG EAST selections were senior first baseman Andrew Clark (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine HS), junior righty closer Neil Holland (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) and sophomore second baseman Ryan Wright (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead HS). Clark is the Cardinals' leading hitter at .385 to go along with 12 home runs and 56 RBI. Holland leads the nation and is the school record holder with 15 saves and has a 7-0 record with a 2.08 ERA this season, while Wright leads Louisville with 66 RBI to go with a .361 average and 14 home runs.

The Cardinals also had four players - senior catcher Jeff Arnold (Louisville, Ky./Male HS), senior shortstop Adam Duvall (Louisville, Ky./Butler HS), redshirt sophomore Stewart Ijames (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) and junior third baseman Phil Wunderlich (Chicago, Ill./Downers Grove HS) - earn Second Team All-BIG EAST accolades. Arnold hit .305 with three home runs and 30 RBI at the plate, while committing just one error behind the plate this season. Duvall, who leads the BIG EAST with 26 doubles, is hitting .346 with 12 home runs and 45 RBI, while Ijames is hitting .344 with 12 home runs and 57 RBI. Wunderlich leads the BIG EAST with 19 home runs to go with a .356 average and 55 RBI.

Other major awards announced on Tuesday night included BIG EAST Coach of the Year (Connecticut's Jim Penders), BIG EAST Player of the Year (Pittsburgh 3B/P Joe Leonard) and BIG EAST Rookie of the Year (St. John's OF Jeremy Baltz).


Cardinal Authority Top Stories