In four days, the Cardinal Nine will return to Jim Patterson Stadium to open perhaps the most anticipated season in school history. With the Cardinals returning seven position players who started more than 30 games, as well as a veteran pitching rotation, the Cardinals look to return to the College World Series and claim its first title in school history.
Pitching for the Cards
To start the season, the baseball team held their annual Media Day on Monday. The Cardinals are starting with a #2 preseason ranking, the highest ever in the school’s history. Some notable highlights from the press conference:
- Dan McDonnell announced his opening weekend pitchers: Kyle Funkhouser (Fri.), Brendan McKay (Sat.) and Drew Harrington (Sun.)
- McDonnell also said that OF Corey Ray is planned to be the leadoff hitter, terrifying many pitchers in the process.
- Many players during the press conference noted that their goal this year was to win a national championship.
For more on Monday’s Media Day coverage, be sure to visit the TweetCap of Louisville’s Media Day here.
The Batting Order
- Talent aplenty: The Cardinals have a talented roster for their #2 preseason ranking. Five of their players are projected top 100 prospects in the 2016 MLB Draft, according to baseballamerica.com.
- Target on your back: The Cardinals were also unanimously selected as preseason favorites to win the ACC. With so many quality teams in the ACC, that is a very glowing endorsement for the Louisville baseball team.
- Tough road ahead: The 2016 schedule for Louisville features 11 teams that are either ranked or received votes in the USA Today/Coaches Poll, including #3 Vanderbilt, #6 Miami and defending NCAA Champion Virginia (who open the season ranked #7).
- The opponent(s): The Cardinals will open their 2016 season with a weekend series v. SIU-Edwardsville, and also have a game on Tuesday, February 23rd v. Eastern Kentucky.
- Player to Watch (SIU): P Kyle Schuster. A preseason All-OVC nominee, Schuster led the SIUE Cougars with an 8-3 record in 2015 and 73 K’s in 79 innings, becoming an All-OVC Second Team player last season.
- Player to Watch (EKU): OF Kyle Nowlin. Nowlin should be considered one of the best hitters in the NCAA entering this season. Selected as a preseason All-American third team player by Louisville Slugger, Nowlin was second in the nation with 19 home runs, and had a .326 batting average along with a .690 slugging percentage last season (sixth highest in the NCAA). He also tied the EKU single-game record of three home runs on two occasions.
- Promotions: Louisville also released their promotions schedule this week. For fans attending any weekend series this season, you can enjoy $1 beer night on Fridays, barbecue on the Berm on Saturdays, or come Sunday and enjoy Family Fun Day. For more information on promotions for various games, visit GoCards.com/baseball.
- Free Baseball!: As always, Louisville continues to offer free baseball for their fans. All but one of their 34 home games are free to the general public. The lone ticketed home game will be on April 19th against rival Kentucky.
- Great weather: If you needed any better incentive to watch Louisville baseball this weekend, the weekend forecast is projected to be in the mid-to-high 60s.