Bordner cuffs Texas A&M batters, Louisville advances in CWS

One will not find Sam Bordner in any listings of 2017 All-America baseball teams. Nor on any All-Atlantic Coast Conference teams either. Not even honorable mention in either of those groupings.

Sam Bordner has given up no runs and one hit in 11 innings of relief in his last four appearances (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

But Dan McDonnell knows where to locate Bordner when one of his starting pitchers is tiring. He will find the 6-foot-6, 240-pound sophomore in the University of Louisville bullpen, cool, calm, collected, ready to go.

As in UofL’s opening game in the College World Series on Sunday. Starter Brendan McKay had given up three straight hits, Texas A&M cutting Louisville’s lead to 5-4 in the sixth inning. Bordner will do what he usually does, shutting down the next three Aggie batters 1-2-3.

Over the next two innings he will hold A&M hitless, not allowing anyone on base. Handing the ball off to Lincoln Henzman in the ninth inning. Louisville will win its opening game 8-4, ending a five-game losing streak in the CWS.

“I think Sam’s been the X factor, a little under the radar,” McDonnell said after the game. “When you’re in that first out-of-the-bullpen or middle relief role, it’s just not as sexy, and you don’t get as much attention. But clearly Sam’s been hot all year.”

The Cardinals (53-10) had used six singles and a walk to build a 5-0 lead in the second inning, with Devin Hairston, Collin Lyman and Colby Fitch contributing run-scoring singles. Fitch winding up with two hits, a walk and four runs batted in. 


McDonnell wants Louisville in College World Series for three straight seasons

Warm thoughts during a frigid January.

In just over a month from now, the University of Louisville baseball team begins the 2015 season with a three-game series in the Clearwater Tournament, which includes Alabama State, South Florida and perennial contender Cal State Fullerton.

Louisville is ranked 12th nationally in pre-season polls, led by pre-season All-American pitcher Kyle Funkhouser, who was 13-3 last season with a 1.94 earned run average and 122 strikeouts. Nineteen veterans return as well.

Coach Dan McDonnell has challenged his team to make the College World Series three years in a row.

Dan McDonnell: Humble and hungry

University of Louisville Baseball Coach Dan McDonnell got emotional Sunday following his team’s win over Kennesaw State, sending the Cardinals to the school’s third College World  Series in eight seasons. Just a great individual, an exceptional coach, a tremendous leader of this program, and a credit to the University. Credit to Cardinal Authority for the video:

Screenshot 2014-06-10 12.22.42

Gorgui Dieng on hand to celebrate UofL baseball’s return to CWS

Gorgui-Dieng-CWSAmong the spectators watching the deciding game of the University of Louisville vs. Kennesaw State Super Regional was Gorgui Dieng, an all-time UofL favorite now playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the National Basketball Association. He was there with his U.S. sponsor Lesley Thomas who worked with Dieng’s English-speaking family in Senegal four years ago to complete the necessary steps and arranged for Louisville officials to send letters to the Senegalese embassy verifying Dieng’s good academic standing. 

Louisville baseball returning to Omaha, expecting more this time around

Nick-SolakNick Solak delivered the big blow, a two-run home run, in the fifth inning to give UofL a lead it would never relinquish while punching its ticket to another College World Series.

Back to the College World Series again, second year in a row, third time in seven years, the University of Louisville baseball team exceeding expectations year after year.

Something different this time around, however, because these coaches and players will not be satisfied with just getting there again.

“The veteran players were disappointed in themselves last year (when they lost the first two games),” said Coach Dan McDonnell. “Our ultimate objective is to win a national championship. These players expect to compete day in and day out. To achieve greatness, you have to shoot for it.

Celebrating with the record crowd of 6,007 fans at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Celebrating with the record crowd of 6,007 fans at Jim Patterson Stadium.

“You gotta have high goals, you gotta dream big. I let the kids set the goals and we just try to live up to them.”

Bergen appeared to be in control going into the fifth inning, his team owning a 4-2 lead. But the Cardinals were figuring him out, Zach Lucas leading off with a double to left field and score on Cole Sturgeon’s first hit, a sharply hit ball to left.

The dog pile was restrained with higher goals in mind.
The dog pile was restrained with higher goals in mind.

Then would come the hit Nick Solak will never forget, sending a towering fly ball high over the left field fence, scoring Sturgeon ahead of him and putting Louisville on top for the first time, 5-2. It was only the UofL freshman’s second home run in his college career.

Anthony Kidston, despite giving up seven hits and walking two batters, would somehow find ways to get out of trouble, wrapping up his ninth win of the season without a loss. He still hasn’t lost a game since his junior year in high school. His sixth inning single would push two runners across the plate, providing some much-needed insurance at the time.

Sturgeon earned his second straight game jersey from McDonnell, with three hits and three runs batted in, plus an inning and a third on the mound. “He just keeps coming through when we need him,” said McDonnell.

Jeff Gardner comes through with a run-scoring single in the third inning.
Jeff Gardner comes through with a run-scoring single in the third inning.

And what about freshman reliever Zach Burdi, coming into the game having thrown for only 10 innings, giving up eight hits, walking seven batters and allowing eight runs.

Asking him to pitch against Max Pentacost, a first round MLB draft pick with a 423 batting average, having a near field day against UofL pitchers this night.  Pentacost managing only a weak fly to right field.

Older brother Nick Burdi slamming the door in the bottom of the ninth, sending the Cardinals back to Omaha one more time.