Games 10-12 Miami RedHawks (3-6) at Louisville Cardinals (8-3)
Friday, March 7 • 3:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 8 • 12:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 9 • 1:00 p.m.
Jim Patterson Stadium • Louisville, Ky.
Miami heads to Louisville for a three-game set on the road against the nationally ranked Cardinals.
AROUND THE HORN
• Senior left-handed starter Seth Varner has allowed three runs or less in each of his first three starts. His 2.37 ERA ranks eighth among MAC starters.
• Sophomore Gary Russo is on a six-game hitting streak, during which he’s hitting .429 with a .571 on-base percentage and a .667 slugging percentage.
• After recording six extra base hits in 34 games last season, Jake Romano has four doubles in Miami’s first nine games.
• As a team, the RedHawks are batting .312 in their last six games and recorded nine or more hits five times. Miami is averaging 7.7 runs per game during this stretch.
• Miami’s lineup has been pretty balanced thus far, with six players batting .323 or higher. MU’s .292 team average leads the MAC.
Probable Starting Pitchers
Seth Varner (Sr., LHP), 1-1, 2.37 ERA, 19.0 IP, 11 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 6 BB, 22 K
Joe Filomeno (Jr., LHP), 1-0, 5.93 ERA 13.2 IP, 16 H, 13 R, 9 ER, 9 BB, 10 K
Nathan Williams (Jr., RHP) 0-1, 11.12 ERA, 11.1 IP, 20 H, 16 R, 14 ER, 8 BB, 8 K
Kyle Funkhouser (So., RHP) 1-1, 3.26 ERA, 19.1 IP, 15 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 9 BB, 14 K
Ryan Powers (Jr., RHP) 1-1, 7.47 ERA, 15.2 IP, 18 H, 14 R, 13 ER, 6 BB, 10 K
Jared Ruxer (Jr., RHP), 2-1, 2.87 ERA, 15.2 IP, 12 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 18 K
ABOUT LOUISVILLE: Ranked as high as No. 10 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, the Cardinals are 8-3 this season. UL is averaging 7.5 runs per game and boasts a 2.55 team ERA. Three everyday position starters are hitting above .300, led by Jeff Gardner’s .459 average with seven extra base hits and 16 RBI. Four pitchers have started two or more games and have ERAs of 3.26 or lower. The Cardinals’ pitching staff have limited opponets to a .214 batting average and only 12 extra-base hits in 11 games.
SERIES HISTORY: Miami is 11-5 all-time against Louisville. The teams last met during the 2005 season, with the RedHawks taking two of three games. MU won the first two games by scores of 3-2 and 2-0 before dropping the finale 14-4.
LAST WEEK: Miami claimed the first two games of its road series against Davidson, posting its first series win of the season. Seth Varner tossed eight shutout innings, carrying a no-hitter through 7 1/3 innings in a 6-0 win last Friday. MU’s offense powered it on Saturday, posting a season-high 14 runs. Six Miami batters recorded multi-hit games, led by Max Andresen’s 3-for-4 performance. Scott Slappey drove in three runs while Andresen and John Crummy finished with two RBI apiece in a 14-11 win. A sweep appeared to be within reach on Sunday as the Red and White jumped ahead 5-0 in the top of the fourth inning with Slappey’s 3-run homer in the third inning providing most of the offense. Davidson rallied by scoring 13 runs over the next four innings to top Miami 13-6 in the series finale.
GETTING IT STARTED: Sophomore outfielder Jake Romano is doing everything you expect a leadoff hitter to do so far. Romano is batting .342 with a .400 on-base percentage through nine games and is a perfect 8-for-8 in stolen base attempts. After starting the year batting third, he has particularly excelled since moving to the loadoff slot, hitting .407/.438/.556 with seven steals in the past six games.
FAST FRIDAYS: Senior lefty Seth Varner has provided the pitching staff a nice lift over his first three starts. Varner has allowed three runs or less in all three starts while logging at least five innings in each appearance. After holding Arkansas State to three runs (two earned) in six innings on opening day, the senior struck out a career-best 11 Belmont batters while handing a 4-3 lead over to the bullpen after five innings of work last on Feb. 21. He notched the best start of his career last Friday but tossing eight shutout innings while only allowing one hit to pick up his first win of the season at Davidson. After posting a 5.13 ERA a year ago, Varner has a 2.37 mark in his first three starts this year. He has fanned 22 batters and walked only six while allowing just 11 hits in his first 19 innings of work.
CATCHING ON: Miami head coach Danny Hayden is in an enviable spot with his team’s backstops. The early signs for experienced returners John Crummy and Max Andresen have been rather promising, with both providing a potent bat in the middle of the order. Crummy (five starts) and Andresen (three) have combined to start eight of MU’s nine games behind the plate. In eight games, Crummy is batting .323 with two extra base hits and four RBI while Andresen is hitting .365 with three extra-base hits (including a home run) and six RBI in six games.
HITTING DISPLAY: Miami had high expectations for sophomore Gary Russo’s bat and the early signs are encouraging. After finishing with one hit on opening weekend, Russo enters play this week on a six-game hitting streak, posting a .429/..571/.667 batting line in that stretch. Russo leads the RedHawks with a .472 on-base percentage and seven walks while batting .345 and slugging .552.
SLAP ON: Junior infielder Scott Slappey’s play is earning him more and more playing time so far. Slappey belted his second career home run in last Sunday’s game at Davidson, giving him a team-high eight RBI in only five games. His .409 average leads the Red and White while his three extra-base hits are tied for second on the team.