McDonnell honored for 500th win before 200th loss

University of Louisville Baseball Coach Dan McDonnell is congratulated by Vice President of Athletics Tom Jurich for his 500th win before Friday night’s game against Florida State. McDonnell won his 500th, 501st and 502nd wins last weekend at Clemson.

He was on a three-game losing streak after the 8-2 loss to the Seminoles on Friday, having lost to Indiana mid-week and in the first two weekend games against Florida State at Jim Patterson Stadium. Current won-lost record in his 11th season is 502-200.

Hopefully getting the garbage out of the system before the post-season arrives.

Photos courtesy of Cindy Rice Shelton.

Few takers for fireworks, Florida State chases McKay

Not one of Brendan McKay’s better nights on the mound in his final regular season appearance for the University of Louisville baseball team (Cindy Rice Shelton photo)

They had a nice fireworks show Thursday night at Jim Patterson Stadium to celebrate the University of Louisville baseball team winning its third consecutive Atlantic Division title in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Not many people on hand for the post-game celebration, however.

Most in the crowd of 3,487 had hit the exits in the eighth inning when it became apparent that a happy ending was not in the Cards. A long, long game, almost four hours, UofL giving up 14 hits in a 12-9 loss to Florida State.

Another night of struggle for Brendan McKay, who some analysts describe as one of the best to ever play in college baseball. That’s based largely on the fact that he has been a first team All-American for three seasons and a two-time winner of the John Olerud Award for the best two-way player.

McKay has struggled on the mound in some recent games, lacking consistency, searching for the strike zone. Still another shaky outing in his latest appearance, chased from the game after giving up four runs in the fifth inning — seven runs, five hits and four walks for the game. His record going into post-season play is 8-3.

Not much help from the bullpen this night. Jake Sparger, in relief, shouldering his first loss in five decisions, coughing up four more runs over two-and-a-third innings. 

UofL highlights were provided by Josh Stowers and Drew Ellis, each contributing three-run home runs.

Josh Stowers is welcomed at home plate by his teammates after hitting a three-run home run, his fifth round tripper of the season (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Humble pie for Gene Deckerhoff, the voice of Florida State football

Gene Deckerhoff gets a large dose of humility.
Gene Deckerhoff gets a large dose of humility.

Never have I heard anyone more arrogant about their football team than Gene Deckerhoff, the Florida State play-by-play announcer, during his interview for a local radio sports talk show on 93.9 FM last Friday.

Deckerhoff got exactly what he deserved when the University of Louisville dissected the Seminoles 63-20 the following day.

At one point, Gene Deckerhoff said he “would have to use a microscope to find any chinks” in Florida State’s armor. He noted that FSU’s offensive line was by far more superior to last year’s offensive line. He also expected Dalvin Cook “to have a breakout game against Louisville to be honest with you.” And “I honestly think this is best defensive line Florida State has had in the last 15 or 20 years,” expecting them to get a sack or two of Lamar Jackson.

On and on, he went. Totally obnoxious.

Hats off to RedRageTailgate.com for the video below. The only thing sweeter would be Deckerhoff’s actual play-by-play. Here’s hoping that becomes available.

Louisville baseball tops Atlantic Division back to back

No. 1 in the Atlantic Division. Again.

The University of Louisville baseball team finishes the regular season on top after defeating Wake Forest 3-1 Thursday while Florida State was losing 4-2 at home to Miami.

Devon Hairston on a tear. File photo by Cindy Rice Shelton.
Devon Hairston on a tear. File photo by Cindy Rice Shelton.

Devon Hairston providing the hitting, knocking the first pitch to him over the left field wall in the second inning. He would finish the day with two hits, score two runs and drive in two runs. The home run was his third this year and he’s currently batting .370.

Brendan McKay and Zack Burdi supplying the bulk of the pitching.

McKay struck out six batters, gave up six hits but only one run in six innings. He’s 11-2 this season and 20-5 in his collegiate career. Burdi claimed his 10th save of the season, shutting down all three batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth.

The Cardinals are guaranteed one of the top two seeds in next week’s ACC Championship tournament, which kicks off Tuesday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, North Carolina.

 

Brendan McKay usually gets the job done for Louisville baseball

As one watches Brendan McKay go into his windup, the mind moves forward, envisioning the big lefthander on the mound as the University of Louisville baseball team goes for a College World Series championship. It’s unavoidable, dreaming, looking forward. He’s one of those rare individual who radiates confidence.

Brendan McKay, deliberate and focused.
Brendan McKay, deliberate and focused.

There’s nothing flashy about how McKay goes about his job, rarely showing any emotion or seeming to be in a hurry. He just appears to be totally zoned in on the next pitch, his next at-bat, or the next play. Not much of a conversationalist either from what we’ve heard, not one for horseplay, rarely smiling, never laughing, just totally focused on baseball. The basics, the fundamentals, they work for him.

He’s off to relatively slow start at the plate this season, with his 292 batting average. He has two home runs, eight doubles and 16 runs batted in. Forget about stolen bases or triples, he is not a gambler or fleet of foot. Expect his batting average to improve, however, because he’s always striving to get better at everything he does. His future is as a pitcher. Expect him to do well at that position in professional baseball.

Last season, McKay finished 9-3 with a 1.77 ERA, four saves and 117 strikeouts in 96.2 innings while starting 13 games and making 20 appearances overall on the mound. Had a .308 average with four home runs, 34 RBI and 14 doubles in 58 starts as a hitter

The soft spoken sophomore is the logical choice to be No. 1 in the pitching rotation because he always seems to be in control. He earned the assignment after Kyle Funkhouser, one of UofL’s always winningest pitchers, got off to a shaky beginning. Brendan was ready, eager to bear the responsibility, embracing the challenge.

With his impressive 1.70 earned run average, McKay is off to a 6-1 start this season, third in the nation in 61 strikeouts, having recorded eight or more whiffs in six of his seven starts this season. Earlier this season, he had a career-best 13 strikeouts against Notre Dame, the most for a UofL pitcher since 2003.