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.