By Matt Bradshaw —
Another season on the collegiate diamond approaches in little under a month, and U of L baseball has chosen five upperclassmen leaders in preparation for its 2019 run.
Senior Zeke Pinkham and juniors Nick Bennett, Shay Smiddy, Tyler Fitzgerald and Logan Wyatt will guide the Cards as captains. The five were chosen by players and coaches, forming an extremely talented veteran group with vital postseason experience.
Pinkham, who missed 41 games in 2018 due to injury, is one of six seniors on the 2019 roster. The Elizabethtown native was part of a three-catcher rotation last year and returns for his final season healthy and ready to go.
All-ACC Bennett will likely be the go-to pitcher in head coach Dan McDonnell’s rotation. A lefty with a career record of 13-3 and 133 strikeouts overall, Bennett is primed for a standout junior season.
Smiddy is the second pitcher amongst the field of captains and finished 2018 with a 5-1 record and 2.96 ERA. He will likely continue his all-around excellence in 2019 by starting, relieving and closing for Louisville as needed.
All-American Wyatt broke out his sophomore season as one of the most explosive hitters on the roster. The Louisville native gets on base at a prolific rate with an on-base percentage of .490 while also leading the team in batting average (.338), home runs (6) and RBIs (69).
Fitzgerald played in all of U of L’s games in 2018 and finished with 17 doubles, 57 runs scored and 23 stolen bases. The infielder concluded fall play with a fantastic .500 batting average and stands poised to continue his speedy, forceful role on the roster.
U of L baseball will start the upcoming season ranked in the top-10 nationally. The Cardinals missed out on a College World Series appearance in 2018, but a talented team guided by accomplished captains bodes a successful return to Omaha as long as they realize their full potential.
McDonnell and his squad will commence the first day of full-squad practices on Jan. 25.
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Photo by Taris Smith / The Louisville Cardinal