By John McCarthy —
Not only are the Cardinals No. 1 in the preseason baseball polls, but three players were named to the Division-1 baseball preseason all-american teams Jan. 21.
Junior Reid Detmers received first team selection honors. Junior Michael Kirian and sophomore Alex Binelas received second team selection honors.
Junior Danny Oriente set the tone for the 2020 Louisville Cardinals at their open media practice Jan. 24. Oriente said, “The vibe is great just to see everybody out here having fun. It’s just great to be back.”
Detmers fanned batters throughout the 2019 season, rounding out with a 13-4 record from the mound. He finished with a 2.78 earned run average in 113 innings pitched. Detmers set Louisville’s single-season strikeout record with 167. He also tied the program record for wins accumulated in a season.
When a tight-game situation was at hand, the Cardinals called Kirian from the bullpen to be the pitcher. Kirian made a team-high 26 relief appearances. He closed with five saves and a team-leading average 1.69 earned run average in 32 innings.
Binelas slugged for 14 home runs, 59 runs batted in and a batting average of .291 in the 2019 season.
The Cardinals were one of three teams named for having at least three players selected to the preseason all-american list.
In 2019, Detmers earned all-american recognition by six different platforms, receiving the Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser semifinalist award. Binelas became the first U of L freshman since Chris Dominguez in 2007 to hit 10 home runs in a season. Kirian recorded the final three outs against East Carolina to send the Cardinals to the College World Series and earned the save in the Cardinals’ victory over Auburn in Omaha.
But the Cardinals are not just a Cerberus attack. There are a number of key contributors for Louisville that plan to show up each and every night to ensure a Cardinals win.
Junior Justin Lavey, who received recognition for 2019 All-ACC third team, played in all 69 games in 2019. He matched his career-highs for home runs and runs batted in. He also has the power of the barrel as well. Lavey was flawless in the 2019 World Series against Vanderbilt going 3-3 with a trio of doubles.
Lavey said, “We just take it day by day, we don’t change a thing. We play our baseball, we practice hard, we practice like every game is a playoff game.”
Expect much of the same hustle in 2020 seen from the 2019 Cardinals on the diamond.
Another star to keep an eye out for in 2020 is junior Tyler Fitzgerald. The San Francisco Giants selected him in the fourth round of the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft. He smacked the ball for a .315 batting average with eight home runs in 2019. Fitzgerald led all Cardinals in 2019 with 65 runs batted in and 84 total hits.
Louisville’s season opener will begin with a three-game series against Ole Miss starting Feb. 14. The Cardinals’ first home game will be against Wright State Feb. 19 at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Photo by Cole Emery // The Louisville Cardinal