By Dalton Ray–
Junior Brendan McKay is one of the hottest names in college baseball. His .379 batting average is fourth in the ACC and his 15 home runs is tied for third. As a pitcher, McKay is second in the conference with a 1.92 ERA and leads with 103 strikeouts.
Seeing his name in all the headlines is becoming casual to McKay. The two-way star doesn’t dive into the numbers, but let’s his game come naturally.
“You come in and expect to put up the same numbers. You may increase or decrease in a few areas, but you can’t worry about that. You just have to go out and do your thing everyday,” McKay said.
A player of McKay’s talent level forces opposing teams to constantly change their game plan to stop him. Enhancing his game is a goal, but McKay won’t allow it to become a mental barrier.
“You can have an approach, but if you’re getting hits you can’t be upset with yourself,” McKay said. “You work on it in (batting practice) or on your own time so when it comes to the game, you have the confidence.”
McKay’s biggest improvement from his sophomore to junior year is his power at the plate. With experience, he is becoming a less-picky batter.
“I’m not looking for certain pitches and I’m just taking it bat-by-bat. Get a pitch you can handle and do what you can do,” McKay said.
Second-ranked Louisville (42-6) is two wins away from a third ACC Atlantic regular season title. McKay credits the new starters for the team’s continued success.
The junior class is full of studs, including Drew Ellis, Devin Hairston, Kade McClure and more. The class has played a large part of their 140-38 career record, but they earned their stripes like everyone else.
“We came in and we were the low men on the totem pole — sitting on the front of the bus, getting our meals last on road games and everything else you go through,” McKay said. “As the years went on, we got more comfortable and free with what we were doing. The more we played the more we learned to have fun and we weren’t as tight.”
McKay has racked up Player of the Week recognition all season and is a few weeks away from hauling in another litter of post season awards. U of L hopes to ride McKay’s career season to their first College World Series appearance since 2013.
Photo by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal