Rosenbaum leads UofL eruption past Ohio State

The sight of Blake Tiberi greeting Danny Rosenbaum at home plate is a welcome one for University of Louisville baseball fans, occurring twice on Saturday in UofL’s 15-3 romp over Ohio State.

Fun day for Brendan McKay on the mound and at the plate.
Fun day for Brendan McKay on the mound and at the plate.

Rosenbaum had homered and homered again, driving Tiberi across the plate in the third and one more time in the fourth inning.

The Louisville senior would come that close — within about three feet of the left field fence — of doing it still again in the fifth inning.

Batting seventh in the lineup, Rosenbaum is hitting at a .289 clip.  More than a third of his 55 hits this season have been for extra bases.  He now has 10 home runs, 12 doubles and a triple.

Louisville would bat around in third inning, burning Ohio State pitchers for eight hits and eight runs, taking a 10-0 lead in the third, increasing it to 14-0 through the fifth.

Brendan McKay shaking some recent doldrums, putting his pitching and hitting dips behind him, earning his 12th win against three losses.

Brendan set the offensive tone early with a towering two-run home run over the center field fence in the first inning.  Two hits on the day, driving in three runs. On the mound, he was denying the Buckeyes any glimpse of home plate and giving up only only three hits through his five and two-third innings.

Logan Taylor, batting ninth in the lineup, had three hits, including a double, and three runs batted in. Top of the order, bottom of the order, no place to relax for opposing pitchers on Saturday.

Photos and gallery courtesy of Cindy Rice Shelton:


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.

Jeff Gardner needs to starting having fun again

As he walks to the plate, Jeff Gardner looks up to the sky, thankful for another at bat. Just outside the batter’s box he raises his bat, twists it slightly and stares at the logo. He then adjusts his batting helmet with his free hand and steps up to plate.

All batters probably have their own pre-bat rituals.  One observed Gardner’s more closely lately because he appeared to be struggling during the NCAA Regional, managing only one hit in 12 at-bats. His batting average was .345 a couple of weeks ago, and has slipped to .326. A little premature to suggest he’s in a hitting slump but a little worrisome for some.Jeff-Gardner-2

Dan McDonnell, perhaps, the coach sending in a pinch hitter for Gardner rather allow him a fifth at-bat against Kentucky. He was zero for four in that game, striking out twice, once with the bases loaded in the fifth, the other with two runners on in the seventh. The coach had good reason to be concerned for Gardner, knowing his player well.

Fortunately for Louisville, several of Garner’s teammates, including Nick Solak, Corey Ray and Cole Sturgeon, have been more coming on of late, raising their batting averages to .349, .328 and .325, respectively. The pitching was impressive, as it has been all season long.

The scouting report on Gardner strongly suggests low and outside pitches. Anywhere else spells trouble. That’s where Kent State, Kansas and Kentucky pitchers were consistently placing the ball. Gardner was aiming for the fences, it seemed, on every cut. Especially on third strikes, whether they were too low or too far outside, strikes or balls.

Maybe trying too hard, putting too much on his own shoulders. A simple base hit will do with runners on base. Opposite field, center field, wherever. Doesn’t have to clear the bases every time. Focusing on making contact until he gets one of that fat pitches.

Gardner’s a senior, with a few precious games remaining in his college career. Time to loosen up, have some fun, enjoy the game, and help his teammates get to Omaha, trusting himself, his instincts and his inherent abilities.

Third time is charm for Josh Rogers, Louisville will host another Super Regional

Josh Rogers How did that feel, Josh, after losing to Kentucky twice during the regular season?

“Third time’s a charm,” said Josh Rogers, walking to left field to join his team after a masterful six innings of shutout pitching to give University of Louisville baseball a 4-1 Regional championship win over Kentucky. “I had a lot of confidence going into the game,” he said. “I absolutely I could do it. I’m all the way back.”

What Rogers was saying was that he has finally recovered from the Tommy John’s surgery that cost him his entire senior year of baseball at New Albany High School. The UofL freshman righthander was still working his way back into shape, he explained, for about half the season.

Dan McDonnell does it again.
Dan McDonnell does it again, his fourth Super Regional since arriving in 2007.

“I’m not even the same guy who pitched those first two games,” he said. “I’m feeling strong, really comfortable out there again, and it’s feels absolutely great.”

That’s coming from a player who wears No. 13 on his back. Fearless.

Nobody could be any happier than his coach, Dan McDonnell, who has a great new pitching weapon at the just the right time as his team prepares to host an NCAA Super Regional in Louisville this week.

Five lines of 30 people deep were lined up outside the ticket window at Jim Patterson Stadium at 12:30 a.m. this morning, fans eager to get their hands on those ducats.

Continue reading “Third time is charm for Josh Rogers, Louisville will host another Super Regional”

All Anthony Kidston does is win

Anthony Kidston hasn’t lost a baseball game since he arrived at the University of Louisville two years ago. He was 5-0 as a freshman, he’s 8-0 this season after UofL defeated Kansas 6-3 Saturday to assure the Cardinals will be in the championship game of NCAA Regional.

His personal winning streak dates back to his senior season at Defiance, Ohio, where he won nine games without a loss and compiled an earned run average of 0.59. He was also a decent hitter, batting .404 while driving in 33 runs that year  In other words, he’s a winner.

All Anthony Kidston does is win.
All Anthony Kidston does is win.

Through the first four innings Saturday, Kidston had allowed only two hits while holding the Jawhawks scoreless. Kansas would score its first run after a walk and two singles. He would leave the bases loaded.

Dan McDonnell wasn’t about to pull him, however, needing a couple of more innings from the 6-foot-2 righthander. Kidston would give up two more singles, a walk and another run in the sixth, Kansas cutting the deficit to 6-2.

Still had another inning in him, shutting Kansas down 1-2-3 in the seventh. When he retired to the dugout in the eighth inning, Kidston had given up five hits while walking five batters and notching five strikeouts.

Not a masterpiece by any means but a very important win, assuring that UofL has a great shot at a Regional championship. If the Cardinals are successful, they host a Super Regional (after Florida State was eliminated Saturday).

Kansas and Kentucky will meet Sunday at noon in the elimination bracket with Louisville playing the winner of that game at 4 p.m.