October 12, 2011

Column: Baseball lands fourth consecutive Top 25 recruiting class

By Donny Yaste–

The University of Louisville Baseball team has landed the No. 11 ranked recruiting class in America. They signed five players, consisting of four pitchers and two infielders. The pitchers are Adam Schemenaur a left-handed pitcher, Nick Burdi a right-handed pitcher, Jared Ruxor a right-handed pitcher and Joe Ceja, also a right-handed pitcher. The two infielders are both from Louisville, Sutton Whiting is from Ballard High School and Zach Lucas attended Butler High School. Coach Dan McDonnell stressed, “You’d like to have three talented classes together.”

He’s gone above and beyond that goal. This class is McDonnell’s fourth consecutive top twenty-five class, and this one is his best yet.

Since Coach McDonnell’s arrival at Louisville the baseball program has continually improved. Attendance has risen, more games have been won and championships have been seized. And the fans aren’t the only ones noticing. So are the recruits. This class includes four players that were drafted by major league teams. However, they chose to attend the University of Louisville because they know the baseball staff at U of L will make their game even better. Adam Schemenaur was the first player in the class drafted, in the twelfth round by the Kansas City Royals. Schemenaur is a big lefty, who Dan McDonnell is excited to have, as he wants to land a lefty in every class.

The three right-handers are Nick Burdi, Jared Ruxor and Joe Ceja. Burdi was taken in the twenty-fourth round by the Minnesota Twins, and is the prospect Dan McDonnell said was the most high profile guy of the class, already showing all the tools he has throughout high school. Ceja was taken in the thirty-eighth round by the Florida Marlins and has been described as imposing and one of the top power arms in his class. Ruxor was drafted in the twenty-ninth round by the Cleveland Indians. He has a blistering ninety-four mile per hour fastball and was a part of what was considered to be the top one-two starting combination in Indiana last year.

The two infielders round out the class. Sutton Whiting was drafted in the forty-fourth round by the Atlanta Braves. He is considered to be a very versatile player and has even been known to be a relief-pitcher as well as an infielder, and Coach McDonnell said his best attribute is his speed. Zach Lucas was not drafted but he did receive the Gatorade Kentucky player of the year award. Coach McDonnell added that he was a very good offensive player.

Coach McDonnell continues to exceed expectations in every aspect of his job. And his latest recruiting class is the latest example, but he’s not letting all the publicity go to his head. He realizes getting them on campus is only the first step, saying, “You’ve landed these highly ranked guys; now you have to develop them.”

If anything is certain though, as long as Coach McDonnell is landing top classes at Louisville, success will follow.

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Photo: Erin Standbridge/The Louisville Cardinal

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