McKay, Hairston and McDonnell take home major ACC honors

By Dalton Ray–

Days before the start of the ACC baseball tournament kicks off in downtown Louisville, the conference released their yearly awards. Coach Dan McDonnell earned his third straight ACC Coach of the Year award. Brendan McKay took home the ACC Player of the Year while Devin Hairston claimed the Defensive Player of the Year.

The Cardinals also littered the All-Conference teams with seven players making the cut. McKay earned a first team mention as a designated hitter/utility player and a pitcher. Third base man Drew Ellis and pitcher Lincoln Henzman join McKay on the first team.

Catcher Colby Fitch earned second team honors while Hairston, Kade McClure and Nick Bennett made the third team. Bennett is also a member of the All-Freshman team.

Louisville’s weekend starters and go-to closer — McKay, McClure, Bennett and Henzman — earning All-ACC honors make the Cardinals the only school with four pitchers selected. McKay (8-3), McClure (7-2) and Bennett (5-0) all have ERAs under three and combine for 254 strikeouts, led by McKay’s conference-leading 116. Henzman has 16 saves with a 1.16 ERA.

Hairston has assisted on 22 double plays and only committed two errors all season. At the plate, the shortstop is batting .314 with 47 RBIs and three home runs.

Ellis exploded on the scene this year, leading the team in batting average (.387), RBIs (51) and home runs (16). Fitch has shinned in his first year as a starter, putting together a .262 average with 40 RBIs and 11 home runs. In conference, the catcher has a .311 average with 26 of his RBIs and nine of his home runs.

McDonnell has led the Cardinals to a 46-9 record, including a 19-game winning streak to start the year. The Cards’ used their 23-6 to secure their third straight ACC Atlantic regular season title as well the top seed in the ACC tournament.

The Cards take on Notre Dame on May 25 at 7 p.m. and Florida State May 26 at 3 p.m.

Photo by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal

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