The University of Louisville baseball team will face Michigan, Michigan State and Minnesota in the 2010 version of the Big East-Big 10 Baseball Challenge Feb. 26-28 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The challenge, played at the spring training home of the Toronto Bluejays, features 30 games with Big East and Big 10 teams playing three games each. The Big 10 had a 15-9 edge last season. This will be U of L’s first participation in the challenge.
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For fans with short memories, the Baseball Cards won the Big East Conference regular-season and tournament titles and advanced to an NCAA Super Regional for the second time in three years.
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Dan McDonnell’s team began fall workouts a couple of weeks ago and will conclude Oct. 20-22 with a three-day intra-squad scrimmage series.
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The college baseball season opens Feb. 19. U of L’s schedule will be announced any day now.
Asaad Ali, the son of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, is committed to play baseball for the University of Louisville. The youngest of nine children in the Ali family, he was adopted by Ali and his wife, Lonnie, in 1992.
A 5-foot-10, 224-pound catcher, Asaad led Niles (Mich.) High School to a conference championship last season, batting .367 with four doubles, two home runs and 18 RBIs in 25 games.
He also played football as a running back and ran for 50 yards and a touchdown in his team’s final game.
â€œAt one college, I show up for a visit and the coach is wearing a shirt with my dad on it, and thatâ€™s all they talked about the whole time,â€ Asaad said. â€œAt Louisville, they said if Iâ€™m good enough, Iâ€™ll play. If not, Iâ€™ll sit the bench. I appreciated the honesty.
â€œI respect everything my dad did, but Iâ€™ve got to make my own way,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™m trying to get out of his shadow. I try to be as regular as I can.â€
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Ryan Seitz, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound slugger from Christopher Dock High School in Lansdale, Penn. has told the Louisville coach that he wants to play at U of L, starting in 2011.
The switch-hitting catcher spent most of his junior season playing in front of college and professional scouts, batting .440 with an area-best 12 home runs and 35 RBIs for a team that won the district championship and made the state tourney a second straight year.
“I met the coaches down in Georgia. I was playing in a tournament down there in the middle of July. I was down there for a week and I had a really good week. Louisville liked me and offered me an athletic scholarship and I went down there for a visit. I met the head coach and the assistants. It was a good fit for me.”
Seitz has heard from Auburn, North Carolina, Texas Christian University, James Madison, and Coastal Carolina.
So how is Chris Dominguez, the recently drafted University of Louisville third baseman, doing during his first season in the San Francisco Giants baseball organization?
Dominguez is assigned to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, an Oregon team based in the Class A Northwest League. He has played in 18 of the team’s first 40 games.
He currently leads the team in home runs with seven of them. He has batted in 17 runs, and owns a batting average of .254. He is also tied with two other players for most strikeouts with 23 in 71 at-bats.
One of the pieces missing during the University of Louisville baseball team’s run to the NCAA Super Regional this season was the slugging prowess of Stewart Ijames. The hard hitting outfielder was forced to miss the season with a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, affecting his batting and throwing arm.
As a freshman, Ijames batted .351 with eight homers and 39 RBIs. He also recorded 11 doubles, two triples and 98 total bases. His .583 slugging percentage and a .401 on-base percentage speaks loudly about his value to the team.
He was named third team All-Big East and was picked as a freshman All-American by Ping Baseball.
The really good news for coach Dan McDonnell is that Ijames is back on the field this summer, playing in the Coast Plain League for the Thomasville, NC team. He leads the league in home runs with nine in 40 games.
The Owensboro native, who was selected to play in the league’s all-star game, recently pounded out a double and a home run while driving in five runs to lead his team to a 12-6 win over Gastonia.
Through his first week as a member of the USA Baseball National Team, University of Louisville right-handed pitcher Tony Zych has not allowed an earned run in his two appearances on the mound and has seven total strikeouts in 3.1 innings of work overall.
Zych, who was named to the 2009 USA Baseball National Team on June 24, most recently pitched 2.0 scoreless innings of relief in Team USA’s 15-1 win over Guatemala on July 1 in Kannapolis, N.C., did not allow a hit and finished with five strikeouts in his second appearance for Team USA. Zych made his first appearance in the Team USA uniform on June 26 in the team’s 8-1 win over Canada in Durham, N.C., as he allowed one unearned run on two hits with two strikeouts in 1.1 innings of relief.
The USA National Team is 7-0 so far this summer with five wins over Canada and two wins over Guatemala, including a 10-0 win on Thursday night. Overall, the USA Baseball National Team (Collegiate) has won 31 consecutive games dating back to last summer.