By Brad McGuffin —
Baseball is poised to make another College World Series run in 2018. To make another trip to Omaha, Louisville will rely heavily on junior Sam Bordner.
As a freshman in 2016, Bordner was coach Dan McDonnell’s immediate go-to out of the bullpen in pressure situations.
Bordner never shied away from the headlines in his first season, recording a shutout inning of relief in the NCAA Regional against Western Michigan. He also closed out the series win against then-No. 17 North Carolina and retired all four batters faced versus then-No. 5 Miami.
While Bordner came in as relief as a freshman, his first collegiate win came against Xavier with a career-high five strikeouts.
Bordner finished his freshman season with 22 strikeouts in 21.2 innings of work as well as earning a save.
In 2017, Bordner picked up where he left off and McDonnell went to the Ohio native more.
Arguably one of the best relief pitchers in the country last year, Bordner compiled a 0.41 ERA, 2-0 record and three saves in 43.2 innings and 23 total appearances.
He delivered scoreless appearances in 22 of his 23 outings. Just like his freshman year, Bordner didn’t shy away from big-time situations.
In his four appearances in the NCAA tournament, Bordner didn’t allow a run in 10.2 innings and recorded 13 strikeouts as he sent the Cardinals to the 2017 CWS. In the lone win for Louisville in Omaha, Bordner shut down the first nine Texas A&M hitters he faced as the Cardinals defeated the Aggies 8-4.
Bordner’s success last season earned him his first career All-America honor (NCBWA Third Team) last season.
With the anticipation of the same production with more volume, D1Baseball named Bordner as a preseason All-American.
His success will be vital to the 2018 team that’s once again full of talent. If Bordner can duplicate the year he had last season the Cardinals could once again play in Omaha.
You can follow Brad McGuffin on Twitter @BradMcGuffin.
Photo by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal