By Lilly Trunnell
The University of Louisville is abuzz with stories of the championship football and
basketball teams. But there is another sports team on campus that does not get nearly the
same recognition for its successes. Louisville Cardinals baseball is consistently ranked
one of the best programs in the country. This past year the team was top of the Big East
Conference with a 20-4 conference record and 51-14 overall record, which led them to their
second College World Series appearance, the previous in 2007.
The 51 wins on the season was enough to not only set a school record, but also give the
team an eighth place national ranking and send them to Omaha for the College World
Series. However, in both the World Series and the Big East Championship Tournament, in
which Louisville was the number one seed, the team somehow fell flat.
In the Big East Tournament they were immediately eliminated by the eighth-seed
University of Connecticut Huskies. Connecticut went on to win the tournament. Likewise,
they were outplayed immediately in World Series double-elimination action, beat first by
Indiana University and then Oregon State.
Despite the inability to clinch a championship, the team’s play during regular season
is nothing short of amazing. The 78 percent winning percentage can be at least partially
attributed to the Cardinals’ offensive capabilities. They outscored opponents in every
inning, and in total outscored them by 404-212 runs. Aiding the offense and providing
perhaps even more support was the pitching staff. In all, the Cardinals’ 2013 staff pitched for
a 2.52 ERA and was ranked fifth in the NCAA.
The Cardinals will be looking for a new ace this year. Jeff Thompson, Big East Pitcher
of the Year, has left to join the Detroit Tiger’s organization. Thompson was drafted in
the third round as the 94th overall pick. Three other contributing pitchers will be joining
him in professional baseball. RHP Chad Green will be joining Thompson in the Tiger’s
organization. RHP Dace Kime, selected by the Cleveland Indians in the third round and
LHP Cody Ege, selected by the Texas Rangers in the 15th round, are also moving their
careers to professional status.
Three fielding players were selected from the University of Louisville in the MLB
Draft. Third baseman Ty Young was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the seventh round,
outfielder Coco Johnson signed with the Miami Marlins after being selected in the 11th
round and outfielder Adam Engel was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 19th round.
Head Coach Dan McDonnell may have some difficulty replacing such valuable assets. He
has assistance in the upcoming task from the 2013 American Baseball Coaches Association/
Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year co-awardees Chris Lemonis and Roger
Williams as well as senior team captains Jeff Gardner and Cole Sturgeon.
With a still-strong core of young fielders, hitters and pitchers along with the capable
leadership skills of both coaches and captains, the upcoming 2014 season at Jim Patterson
Stadium is sure to be just as entrancing as the last.