By Xavier Bleuel–
The University of Louisville baseball program comes into the 2013 season with plenty of talent and expectations. The annual Baseball America Preseason Top 25 debuted with the Cardinals ranked at No.4.
This is Louisville’s highest ranking in school history. Their best preseason ranking prior to this year was when they were No. 8 in 2009 by Collegiate Baseball newspaper. Their overall best ranking was No.6 after the historic 2007 season, where the Cards reached their first College World Series.
Baseball America had high praise for the Cards, stating, “This team is a legitimate championship contender. Anything short of their first trip to Omaha since 2007 will be a disappointment this spring.”
Something new to look out for is the recent renovation at Jim Patterson Stadium. What was already one of the finer baseball stadiums in the country gets even better with 4,000 total seats, including 3,000 chair-back seats, making Jim Patterson one of the 30 largest stadiums in the country.
There is plenty of talent to go around. The Cardinals are led by senior first baseman Zak Wasserman and fellow senior second baseman Nick Ratajczak. They also return 21 letter-winners and seven of its school record 10 All-Big East performers from last season. An amazing pitching rotation returns for the Cards, including Big East Rookie of the Year and Freshman All-American RHP, Jared Ruxer, as well as All-Big East RHP Jeff Thompson.
Louisville won the Big East regular season title last year, making it three title wins out of the last four years.
The Cards start off their last season as a member of the Big East before moving to the ACC against the University of Indiana on Feb. 15 at the Big East/Big 10 Challenge in Dunedin, Fla. before opening the newly minted Jim Patterson Stadium against Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday, Feb. 20.
Admission is free to most of the home games, so make sure you head out to South 3rd Street and Central Avenue to watch an exciting baseball season.
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