By Dalton Ray —
Baseball’s Danny Oriente had his freshman season cut short after just two games. In game three of the opening weekend, Oriente injured his labrum and was forced to miss the rest of the season due to surgery.
Oriente shook off the rust during the opening part of the season and his bat is pacing Louisville’s offensive surge. The Cardinals are 8-3 in their last 11 and Oriente has a hit an each, the team’s longest streak.
The hitting streak has been anything too elaborate for Oriente.
“I’ve been getting a lot of fastballs and try to be ready for it then put a good swing on it,” Oriente said.
In the opening month, Oriente started in 12 of the opening 17 games. He didn’t perform spectacularly well, batting .209 with eight hits and six RBIs.
In the past 11 games, he has 20 hits and 21 RBIs with a .526 average. Coach Dan McDonnell called Oriente an “RBI machine,” but the sophomore doesn’t look too much into it.
“I’m just trying to put a good swing on balls and whatever happens, happens,” Oriente said.
Louisville has 70 runs in their last 11 outings, scoring at least five runs in seven.
McDonnell said how the sophomore class performed would be the key to the season. Riding a six-game winning streak, the sophomores — lead by Oriente and Logan Wyatt — are carrying their weight.
“We were going to live and die by this sophomore class,” McDonnell said. “Oriente is on fire … Wyatt has been consistent all year.”
With nearly two full seasons under their belt, McDonnell is expecting more his the 2021 class.
“(They’ve) seen a lot of good baseball, they’ve played a lot of good baseball. Now it’s time to be a guy and I really think this sophomore class is starting to contribute for us,” McDonnell said.
As the Cardinals approach the back-end of the season, Oriente’s play at the plate will be crucial as Louisville’s weakness at time has been ability to score.
U of L flew through turbulence earlier in the season, but they’ve been raking in the W’s as of late.
“We’re locked in right now. We have good confidence right now, leaders are showing and I’m happy with it,” Oriente said.
You can follow Dalton Ray on Twitter @dray5477.
Photo by Nancy Hanner / The Louisville Cardinal