Louisville Baseball had the best season in program history last year, making it to the national semifinal before losing to eventual national champion Vanderbilt in a closely contested game. Louisville lost some pieces from that team, but there is still quite a lot of talent returning for Coach Dan McDonnell. That’s why one publication that just released their preseason rankings has the Cards at No. 1.
Preseason #️⃣1️⃣#L1C4 pic.twitter.com/lcvTQjgoiN
— Louisville Baseball (@LouisvilleBSB) December 16, 2019
Collegiate Baseball Newspaper pegged the Cards as their preseason No. 1 after their best finish in Omaha in school history. Of course, it helps that Louisville returns 3 excellent starters, good bull pen arms, and a mix of experienced players and talented youth as well.
The Cards will likely have one of the best starting rotations, if not the best, in the country. Reid Detmers is the ace of the staff. In 2019, numerous baseball publications named him either a First or Second Team All-American. In addition to those honors, he was named ACC Pitcher of the Year and First Team ACC as well as being a semifinalist for both the Dick Howser and Golden Spikes awards. Detmers was a workhorse, pitching 113.1 innings and winning 13 games. He led the team in strikeouts with 167 and only surrendered a paltry 33 walks. He recorded a 2.78 ERA and opponents only batted a measly .177 against the southpaw.
Bobby Miller was a 2018 Freshman All-American and became a reliable starter as the season progressed in 2019. He finished with a 7-1 record and 86 Ks in 80 innings pitched. He had a solid 3.83 ERA. Miller pitched a great game in the Super Regional against East Carolina. He took a no-hitter into the 9th inning, but did surrender one hit in the 9th. Though he couldn’t complete the game, he pitched 8 sterling innings in the win. He looks to take a big jump this season and become the Saturday starter for McDonnell.
Luke Smith will likely be the Sunday starter after his epic postseason that saw him stifle the Vanderbilt Commodores for most of the semifinal game in Omaha. He has the two longest starts in Louisville Baseball postseason history, going 8.1 innings in the aforementioned Vanderbilt game and going 8.1 innings against Illinois State in the regional. He struck out 10 against Vandy and his performance against Illinois State in the regional led him to be named to the 2019 All-Louisville Regional Team. (By the way, Mr. Luke Smith was on our podcast a couple weeks ago. You can listen to it here.)
The bull pen will likely be anchored by Michael Kirian. Kirian saved 5 games last season and had a 3-1 record. He had a 1.69 ERA in 32 appearances. He recorded 42 strikeouts and only had 9 walks. He surrendered only 7 extra base hits with only 2 of those being homers. It’s likely Kirian will be the closer for this year’s team.
Offensively, the Cards return their best hitter in Danny Oriente. Oriente led the team in average at .332 and in doubles with 17. He was a clutch hitter for the Cards in postseason play as well, driving in the game-tying run and eventually scoring the winning run in UofL’s World Series win over Mississippi State.
Freshman All-American Alex Binelas returns for the Cards. Binelas was a revelation for the Cards last season. He batted .291 with 14 homers, 5 triples, 14 doubles, and 59 RBIs. He manned the hot corner, but could slide to 3rd base according to our resident baseball guru Justin Krueger. Binelas led the Cards in home runs and slugging percentage at .612.
Henry Davis looks to build on his solid freshman season. He played really well in the postseason. He had two hits and a RBI in the Cards first matchup against Vanderbilt in Omaha. He also had two RBI hits against East Carolina in the Super Regional.
Jared Poland, Ty Leonard, Zach Britton, and Cameron Masterman will likely take on bigger roles as well. There may be some true freshmen that get extensive playing time as Alex Binelas and Henry Davis did last season.
Louisville will look to build on their extraordinary 2019 season and win the program’s first College World Series title. They have the pieces to do so and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper believes they are the team to beat in 2019 by giving them this No. 1 ranking. Regardless, it should be a fun season for Louisville Baseball fans.
If you want to know which team is No. 2, who else is in the top 5, and where you can purchase 2020 season tickets to watch the Cards at Jim Patterson Stadium, read the press release from UofL below.
*all stats courtesy of gocards.com
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT:
Louisville Baseball Earns Preseason No. 1 Ranking
The Cardinals sit atop the Collegiate Baseball preseason poll released Monday.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 16, 2019
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – For the first time in program history, the University of Louisville baseball program will begin the season as the No. 1 ranked team as the Cardinals sit atop the Collegiate Baseball preseason poll released on Monday.
This marks just the second time the Cardinals have been the top-ranked team in the country, having held the No. 1 ranking for a pair of weeks during March of 2017.
Louisville holds the top spot followed by Vanderbilt, Texas Tech, Miami and Arizona State. Seven ACC teams find themselves in the top-40 poll, with six ranked No. 17 or better.
The Cardinals are coming off a 51-18 record during the 2019 campaign that saw them win the ACC Atlantic Division for the fourth time in five years and reach the bracket final at the College World Series, the deepest postseason run in program history.
Head coach Dan McDonnell is set to begin his 14th season at the helm of the Louisville program and returns 24 players from last year’s team that finished the year ranked third nationally.
Louisville opens the 2020 season Feb. 14 with a three-game series on the road at Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss. The Cardinals’ home opener is set for Feb. 19 against Wright State at Jim Patterson Stadium.
2020 LOUISVILLE BASEBALL SEASON TICKETS
The 2020 reserved chairback ticket packages, which include one ticket to each of the 17 ticketed games, are priced at $110 for adults, $90 for senior adults/youths and $90 for families of four or more. Season tickets for the Left Field Berm are also available at $50 per ticket. Season tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online here, by calling 502-GO-CARDS or by visiting the Louisville Cardinals Ticket Office, located near Gate 2 at Cardinal Stadium (2800 South Floyd Street) on weekdays from 9 a.m., until 5 p.m., ET. Complete details on 2020 UofL baseball tickets can be found at gocards.com/bsbtickets.
The season ticket package covers weekend series against ACC foes Notre Dame, Virginia, Clemson, NC State and Virginia Tech, in addition to non-conference games against Kentucky and Indiana.