McDonnell trusting Bennett to get Louisville baseball off to good start

There’s Dan McDonnell again, presiding over still another NCAA Regional press conference at Jim Patterson Stadium. The eighth hosted by the baseball program in the coach’s 13-year tenure at the University of Louisville.

Then, of course, there are those five Super Regionals and those four trips to the College World Series in Omaha. Probably more to come in the not-too-distant future. But still a relief to see UofL  back in the picture after a year’s absence of not hosting a Regional.

“I don’t want ever to take success for granted,” he said. “It’s not as easy as maybe people think it looks. Lot of great players, great coaches and great support staff. I want a lot of people to feel a sense of pride in what has been accomplished. ”

The early exit from the Atlantic Coast Conference, with two lifeless losses, providing a painful reminder of how quickly things can go sour in baseball, especially against good pitching. The middle of the lineup nowhere to be found on the bases during those two games.

“We ran into two really good pitchers,” said McDonnell. “We didn’t play particularly great. Offensively, it’s nice to be home and get back to a routine.   We feel really good. We wouldn’t be in this position if our offense hadn’t produced this year.”

Nick Bennett, with a 6-3 won-lost record, will start the first game Friday at 6 p.m. against Illinois Chicago. McDonnell still feels comfortable with Bennett despite some shaky starts lately.

“We’re confident Nick is going to give us six, seven or eight innings. He has given us some really good starts this season. We have a lot of faith in him.”

The vote of confidence coming from a coach who has been there many times. 

Groan: Louisville baseball relegated to scrimmage action

A dull, lifeless performance in a game starting at 11 a.m. and attended by less than 300 people at the Durham Bulls stadium. The kind of game to avoided by any means possible.

Just a miserable outing, beginning to end.

NIck Bennett struggling despite three scoreless innings, and Louisville is eliminated from ACC baseball contention.

The University of Louisville baseball team managing only two hits against left-hander Dan Metzdorf in a 5-1 loss. The only run unearned, resulting from Boston College errors. Metzdorf, a senior, turning in a rare complete game for a college pitcher, his first during his four-year career.  

Louisville’s Nick Bennett, meanwhile, struggling again. Entering the game, he had given up 15 runs in his last 11 innings while losing two of three games. Despite holding Boston College scoreless in the first three innings, he was giving up three hits, two walks and losing the battle with the strike zone.

The Atlantic Coast Conference tournament has yet to provide a positive experience for the University of Louisville baseball team, having won only three games in their first five seasons in the tournament. Stunk even when the event was held in Louisville a couple of years ago.

The Cardinals will play Clemson on Thursday but they have already been eliminated, with Boston College winning two games in Pool A. The Eagles move to the semi-finals.

Bennett has 6-3 won-lost record this season but his best days may be behind him, especially when UofL is not putting up the runs. He needs to prove the observer wrong if Louisville is to have a shot in NCAA tournament action.