Tag Archives: Dan McDonnell

Photo by Annie Moore

Looking ahead: Five games in seven days for Cardinal Baseball

By Annie Moore

Coming off of a successful weekend at home, the Louisville baseball team

is headed into a daunting week. Five games in seven days. Four teams will

come to town in what head coach Dan McDonnell says would be “A tough

stretch for anyone in college baseball.”

 

First coming to town is Eastern Illinois University on Tuesday. The

Panthers are 1-6 on the season, including a dropped four-game series

against No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette. Each of Eastern Illinois’ first seven

games has been against ranked opponents, with its only win of the season

in the first game of the Louisiana-Lafayette series. The Panthers come to

town, in a game that should get the Cardinals back on a winning streak.

 

Next up, Morehead State University comes to Jim Patterson Stadium on

Wednesday. The Eagles have played eight games this season, with a

split record of 4-4. MSU began the season with three consecutive losses,

but has won four of its last five games. Look for junior Brandon Rawe,

who is leading the team in batting average this season. The outfielder is

batting .346 in the first eight games of the season.

 

Headed in to weekend play, the University of Toledo Rockets come to

town for two games, on Friday and Sunday, with No. 11 Indiana University

sandwiched in the middle for a Saturday headliner game.

 

Toledo has a 2-3 record on the season, and has not faced a ranked

opponent. But catcher Tyler Baar has come out swinging early in the

season. The junior leads the team in runs scored and is hitting .250, with

an on-base percentage of .412. Toledo specializes in scoring later in

games, scoring 17 of its 21 runs this season in or after the fifth inning.

The game against Louisville will be Toledo’s second of the day, so fatigue

could be a factor.

 

Finally, the Indiana Hoosiers are coming to town for Louisville’s first game

of the season against a ranked opponent. But, Indiana isn’t exactly coming

in hot, the Hoosiers have lost five of the last six games. The season has

started a dismal 2-5 and Indiana is looking for a quality win to get back on

pace. It will take on Toledo on Friday morning, before facing the Cardinals.

 

The early games should be wins for Louisville, defeating Eastern Illinois

and Morehead State will build confidence going into the weekend. But the

biggest challenge for coach McDonnell and the rest of the team will be

figuring out a pitching rotation that will carry the Cards through the long

five-day stretch.

 

My prediction: The Cards win four of five, dropping one game against

Toledo to advance to 9-3 on the season.

Photo by Austin Lassell

Baseball takes series against Western Michigan

By Annie Moore

Louisville’s baseball team continued its home stand, winning its three game series against

Western Michigan University. The Cardinals won on Friday and Saturday, 21-8,and 8-

0 and dropped the third and final game 4-2.The series proved the Cardinals’ explosive

offensive potential, shed light on many members of the pitching staff and provided some

younger team members game experience.

“I’m pleased with some of these young guys we’re giving opportunities to,” Louisville

Head Coach Dan McDonnell said. “We’ll continue to give some guys opportunities.”

The weekend started on a beautiful Friday afternoon in a high-scoring game one. The

team set a season-high for runs and hits in the game, with 21 and 22 respectively.

Senior outfield Cole Sturgeon was one of many leaders on offense, Sturgeon led the team

going 3-for-6 with a home run, two doubles and a career-best six RBI.

Friday also marked the return of junior infielder Sutton Whiting. Whiting — who

suffered a fractured nose after being hit in the face in the season opener against West

Virginia — came off the bench and went 2-for-4 with a double and scored two runs.

The visiting Broncos looked to be a challenge to the Cardinals after fighting back to a

one-run deficit at 8-7 in the top of the fifth, but Louisville pulled away scoring thirteen runs

in the following four frames to WMU’s one, to put Louisville on top 21-8.

Saturday was another dominating performance by the Cardinals, this time the defense

stepped up to shut out the Broncos.

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Kyle Funkhouser had his longest outing of the season,

throwing seven shutout innings with just two hits and 10 strikeouts. Funkhouser got his

first win of the season and his sixth-career win.

Six Cardinals scored on Saturday, including Whiting and designated hitter Nick Solak,

who each scored two runs.

Not only did Western Michigan plate zero runs on Saturday, they failed to have a runner

reach third base the whole day.

On Sunday the nice weather and high-powered Cardinal offense were nowhere to be

found. Western Michigan struck early, putting up a quick run in the first and plating three

more in the top of the third.

The Cardinals didn’t get on the board until the fourth, when senior Alex Chittenden hit a

single to shallow right-field, which allowed sophomore first baseman Danny Rosenbaum to

advance on the throw from right to score the first Louisville run of the day.

The day went from cold to punishing; the snow began to fall in blizzard-like fashion,

making the Cardinal comeback even tougher.

“We knew it was going to be a tough day to score,” McDonnell said. “You have to control

the game defensively, on the mound. We had some opportunities, but we couldn’t control

this game.”

Jump ahead to the bottom of the fifth and bases were loaded following back-to-back

singles from Whiting and Sturgeon, and Kay reached base off an error by the Broncos

catcher, Brett Sunde. Senior left-fielder Jeff Gardner was walked, which plated Whiting to

make it just a 4-2 game. But the Cardinals failed to capitalize and Western Michigan escaped

the bases-loaded jam with just one run in the books.

But unlike the snow, the Cardinals offense didn’t pick up. The score would stay the same

for the following four frames and Louisville would miss out on the sweep.

The Cards look to get back to winning Tuesday at Jim Patterson Stadium. First pitch is set

for 3 p.m.

Photo by Austin Lassell

Louisville baseball coach honored

By Lilly Trunnell

Cardinals baseball head coach Dan McDonnell was inducted this month to The Citadel Athletic Hall of Fame for his days as an all-conference second baseman for the Bulldogs.

“You get inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame and it’s a great honor. I love the university, I loved my time there, and it just motivates me more as a coach to help them get the most out of their experience,” McDonnell said.

But baseball wasn’t always the first choice for the 23-year veteran of collegiate athletics.

“I grew up playing football, basketball, and baseball and really thought I was going to play football in college,” McDonnell said. “When it came time to move from high school to college, baseball gave me the opportunity to play at the highest level. I just thought, what an opportunity to play big time division one baseball.” McDonnell admits that giving up football, which was the sport he was originally going to play collegiately, was a struggle at first. “I missed it an awful lot, but baseball just became the sport I could play the highest level at, so I grew to love the sport. When you get to college, you’d better love the sport, otherwise you’re not going to excel in it.”

Those words alone are proof that McDonnell truly did find his passion for baseball in college. He walked away from his college career with school records in stolen bases and walks, as well as contributions to two Southern Conference regular season titles, the 1990 league tournament crown, and the 1990 Atlantic Regional. In addition, he was a member of the Bulldog’s 1990 trip to Omaha for the College World Series.

“I was blessed to play with a really great group of players,” McDonnell said. “We accomplished a lot as a team. We played in the College World Series, which was an amazing experience. I’m a product of my society. I played with great players, and then I got right into coaching there and I got to coach great players and really enjoyed coaching in a way even more so than playing because I was helping others.” Immediately after graduating from The Citadel, McDonnell began working as an assistant coach to Bulldogs baseball. He was there for eight seasons before a six-season assistant coaching stint with Ole Miss.

“I really enjoyed coaching kids to succeed and seeing how much fun they had.”

If watching his players succeed is what Coach McDonnell is aiming for, then no one can say he isn’t doing his job. The Cardinals lost seven players from last year’s squad to the MLB draft, which in baseball is the ultimate success out of college.

“I took (Ole Miss’s) coaching philosophy and The Citadel’s coaching and philosophy and I just combined them to have the system we have here now,” McDonnell said. “Just like at Ole Miss, we recruited great players and we’re used to sending a lot of guys into professional baseball.”

He doesn’t take all the credit for recruiting the pro-worthy players, though, mentioning assistant coaches Roger Williams and Chris Lemonis, Co-recipients of Baseball America’s Assistant Coach of the Year award. “We’ve been here seven plus years together and we obviously work very well together. I’m extremely proud of their accomplishments,” Coach says.

“They work extremely hard, they’re very competitive, they’re very loyal and they’re great people.They recruit with the understanding that we’re going to help get them ready for pro ball,” McDonnel said. With a professional mentality and strong background, it’s no wonder Coach McDonnell led the Cardinals to their first World Series appearance since 2007 last season, but he knows with the standards of U of L athletics the work is never done.

“Time will tell if we’re successful immediately. We’re hardheaded and we’re stubborn. We don’t want to take a step back,” McDonnel said. After the 2007 and also successful 2010 season, the successive 2008 and 2011 teams seemed to have a lull where younger players were making up for the lost older players while still training. Coach is determined to see a different outcome in 2014 after a successful 2013 season.

“Hopefully we’re a little more prepared this year,” McDonnell said. “But only time will tell.”