By Matt Bradshaw —
Baseball added 13 freshmen for the upcoming 2019 season. The group has received acclaim as one of the best incoming classes in the nation, while also meriting comparison to fantastic Louisville first-years in the past.
“It reminds me of the 2017 team,” McDonnell said, referring to Louisville’s balanced team that reached the College World Series. “The freshman group got a lot of praise for their ranking as a recruiting class.”
On the mound, seven freshmen pitchers add to an already solid rotation. McDonnell and pitching coach Roger Williams are working hard to fuse the fresh muscle with their veterans.
“Part of the reason they’re so high in the rankings is the talented arms,” McDonnell said. “Coach Williams gets freshmen pitchers to contribute in a big way.”
Carter Lohman, Garrett Schmeltz and Danny Zimmerman are the freshmen left-handers. Kerry Wright, Jack Perkins and J. R. Langworthy are the right-handers. The group has a strong chance to earn pitching roles with their talent, similar to how junior lefty Nick Bennett did as an underclassman.
“It’s been a really good competition throughout the pitching staff,” Bennett said. “Everybody is fighting for something.”
Jared Poland is one of the freshmen two-way players, pitching and also playing the infield. Junior shortstop Tyler Fitzgerald says Poland, Andrew Benefield and Tim Borden II are working hard to compete with the upperclassmen.
“They’re all going to be keys to us this year,” Fitzgerald said. “They definitely make it hard on us older guys. We have to bring it every day.”
Alex Binelas is another two-way player, listed as both an infield and outfielder. Chris Seng is an outfielder competing for a spot after a great term of fall ball.
Rounding out the group are catchers Henry Davis and Ben Metzinger. Coach McDonnell says the pair have a strong chance for time behind the plate.
“I love to play two catchers, love to keep them fresh and healthy,” McDonnell said. “These freshmen work hard to compete.”
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File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal