Donald Hairston never misses a game at Jim Patterson Stadium

On any day when the University of Louisville baseball team is in action at Jim Patterson Stadium, one will find Donald Hairston pacing the concrete deck on the first base side of the field.

Donald Hairston keeps a close eye on son Devin. He and his wife Valerie never miss a home game

Hairston, who hails from Lexington, is the father of Devin Hairston, the Cardinals’ starting shortstop. His wife, Valerie, is at the stadium, too, but she is usually watching with a friend in the seats.

Hairston says he prefers to stand during games, especially when games are close and the outcome is still on the line. “Too much nervous energy,” he says.

Hairston is a retired information technology specialist and Valerie is a retired teacher from the Fayette County Public School System. They travel to Louisville for every home game, as well as to other games within driving distance.

The Hairstons had two sons playing baseball up until last year, including Dorian, the younger son, who was an outfielder at the University of Kentucky. They had no problem cheering for either program, according to mom who told the Courier-Journal last year, “It’s not stressful for me. I look at it positively: I win either way. One of my kids wins.”

Devin actually was committed to UK at one point but changed his mind after a meeting with UofL Coach Dan McDonnell. “Devin said Louisville was just the better fit for him,” said his dad. “He wanted to play for Coach McDonnell.”

Devin Hairston is hitting at a 328 clip this season (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Donald Hairston is elated that Devin is having a successful junior season, recalling that his son had to battle back from a collision with a University of Cincinnati player during his freshman season. “That was tough on everybody, and it took a while to recover,” he explained. “He is playing some of his best baseball right now.”

Devin is currently hitting at a .328 clip, with eight doubles, three triples, two home runs and 37 runs batted in after 38 games. Defensively, at shortstop, he has a fielding percentage of 99.2%.

When both players had games on the same day the past two seasons, one parent would go to the UK game, the other to the UofL game. No problem this year with Dorian enrolled in grad school in Lexington. 

Devin Hairston just keeps on delivering for UofL Baseball

Devin Hairston is the man you want at the plate with UofL runners on base (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

“When the lights are on, Devin Hairston’s the guy you want at the plate.”

The word coming from Dan McDonnell, coach of the University of Louisville baseball team following a 7-5 win in a game that clinched two out of three in a series against Wake Forest over the weekend.

That’s saying something when your team has players like Brendan McKay, with a hefty .388 batting average, and Drew Ellis, currently hitting .364. They get the attention of the professional scouts. Hairston gets the job done with runners on base.

Hairston is leading the team in runs batted in with 36 of them through 31 games. He is followed by Colby Fitch with 27, Ellis with 25, McKay with 22, Devin Mann and Logan Taylor with 21, and Colin Lyman with 16.

“Devin is just very even keel,” said McDonnell. “He just very confident in his ability as he should be. He’s just competing, he’s grinding out, he’s very consistent. When the lights are on, he has those very good at-bats.”

Hairston, who is currently batting .325, had three hits and drove in four runs, including a game-clinching two-run double in the eighth inning before a crowd of 4,056 at Jim Patterson Stadium. It was UofL’s 31st consecutive series win at home, including 13 straight against Atlantic Coast Conference foes.

“I’m really happy for him, and I’m happy for our guys,” said McDonnell. “We showed a lot of toughness today.”

The Cardinals are now 27-4 overall and 12-3 in the ACC. Clemson, meanwhile, moved into first place in the Atlantic Division with a 13-2 mark following a weekend sweep of Virginia Tech.

Louisville drubs Michigan, off to another Super Regional

Happy days are here again.

The University of Louisville is off to its third consecutive Super Regional, totally dominating Michigan 13-4 in a game in which the Cardinals had 14 hits and seven innings of masterful pitching from Josh Rogers.

Rogers, a sophomore left-hander from New Albany, was making his second start in an NCAA Regional, a little nervous he admitted after the game. Reality struck quickly in the first inning when Carmen Benedetti clocked him for a two-run home run, jump starting Michigan with a two-run lead.

Devin Hairston earns outstanding player award in Louisville Regional. (UofL photo)
Devin Hairston earns outstanding player award in Louisville Regional. (UofL photo)

Rogers shakes it off, settles down and gives up only four hits while striking out five batters the rest of the way.

“I was nervous,” said Rogers during the post-game press conference. “If anybody says they’re not nervous before a game like this, they’re lying to you. I had some nerves going, but I got calmed down, settled in there and, after that home run, I just gave my team a chance to win.”

Nick Solak breaks the ice for UofL the next inning with  his third home run of season. He would followup the next inning sending a runner home on a sacrifice to tie the game at 2-2, and still another runner on a single in a three-run sixth inning. By then, UofL owned a 8-3 advantage.

“We were very consistent all weekend — never really panicked,” Louisville Coach Dan McDonnell said. “We handled everybody’s best punch.”

Sutton Whiting, Zach Lucas and Logan Taylor added two hits each for UofL, improving its season record to 46-16.

Coach Dan McDonnell had some special praise for Devin Hairston who was named the Regional’s Most Outstanding Player after going five-for-ten at the plate and scoring four runs over the weekend.

“He’s the epitome of a great week of practice,” McDonnell said. “He and (assistant) coach (Eric) Snider just tweaked the swing a little bit, got him right.”

McDonnell can’t wait for a few more days of practice. Tweaking, tweaking, always tweaking.

Hairston again, Louisville baseball edges Michigan

Corey Ray would fly out to left field in the seventh inning but his teammate Danny Rosenbaum would come through with a two-run home run.
Corey Ray connects for a single in the eighth inning, driving in a run. (Card Game photo)

Left-handed pitchers continue to pose a challenge for University of Louisville hitters, the Cardinals scoreless through the first six innings. Give them time and they will eventually solve Michigan’s Brett Adcock, sidelining him for the remainder of the regional.

Devin Hairston couldn’t match the four-for-four hitting from the night before. But he still found a way to push the winning run across in the 4-3 win over Michigan, possibly putting his University of Louisville baseball team one game away from another NCAA Super Regional.

It was Hairston’s foul ball to right field in the top of the ninth and a running and diving catch by Michigan’s Johnny Slater doing the damage. Slater should have let the ball go. All Colin Lyman, running for Danny Rosembaum, had to do was tag up at third and head for home.

As a result, the Cardinals will play the winner of the Michigan-Bradley game, scheduled for noon, at 4 p.m. on Sunday. Josh Rogers will be on the mound for UofL.

Freshman Brendan McKay came within one out of completing eight innings, being lifted for reliever Drew Harrington after giving up his only walk of the game. He would allow only five base runners while giving up four hits, one of them a home run by Carmen Benedetti in the fourth inning. One runner reached on an error in the eighth when Michigan scored two runs to tie the game at 3-3 going into the ninth.

Adcock, Michigan’s starting pitcher, would allow only three hits and three walks before handing the ball over to Bryan Pall in the eighth inning. The big blow off Adcock was a two-run home run in the seventh by Danny Rosenbaum, scoring Zach Lucas who had walked.

Big game for Rosebaum, with two hits, two runs batted in and scoring another.