Trial run at Slugger Field good move for UofL baseball

Sophomore Zeke Pinkham is congratulated by his UofL teammates after his first career home run,  a two-run blast, putting the Cards on top (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

A trial run was held for the University of Louisville baseball team at Slugger Field on Wednesday, giving the Cardinals and their fans a chance to get used to the venue before the ACC tournament in late May.

Good idea. There are many differences between Jim Patterson Stadium and the home base for the Louisville Bats. A taste of a professional baseball venue for UofL players. So much commercialism at Slugger Field, over the top, actually, with advertising on almost every conceivable surface, including the outfield fences and the video boards.

Some stadium enhancements would be nice before the ACC tournament rolls around, including the sound system. The stadium announcer could barely be heard on the second level and Al Greener’s portable keyboard was nowhere near as robust as the organ at Jim Patterson Stadium.

The food selection for the UofL game was nowhere near as plentiful as for a Bats’ game, with several vendors apparently taking the night off. It took several minutes to get popcorn after paying for it and then it tasted like it had been popped a couple of days earlier.

The press box was almost depressing, older and cramped compared to the Jim Patterson facilities. Fortunately there was a soft drink dispenser and a box of Jimmy John’s potato chips but that was about it. If improvements are not forthcoming, it’s going to be real turnoff for ACC writers.

Attendance was 2,729 although the crowd seemed to be larger. More UofL people are going to have find their way down to Main Street for the ACC tournament. Nice of the Bats to provide the baseball team with the trial run.

As for the baseball game, the UofL Cardinals needed a while to get warmed up, falling behind 4-0 before third baseman Drew Ellis smacked a baseball 325 feet over the left field fence in the fourth inning. He would hit another one, a two-run shot, in the fifth inning to raise his home run total to 12 for the season.  

Zeke Pinkham, a sophomore backup catcher, would hit his first home run that inning with a runner on base to put UofL ahead for the first time. UofL would defeat Northern Kentucky University, 6-4, improving its won-lost record to 35-6.

Sophomore left hander Adam Wolf got credit for his sixth win without a loss while junior righty Lincoln Henzman picked up his 13th save.

Some photos, courtesy of Cindy Rice Shelton:

Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.