As Nick Solak was flying into Louisville last week he said the city that was all lit up, a welcome sight for him. Solak had fond memories of the great moments he had as a University of Louisville baseball player.
Solak played on UofL’s 2014 College World Series team. During his time as a Cardinal, three seasons he hit a career .346. He was a second baseman but learned to play multiple positions.
Solak was a Louisville Bat about 48 hours when he got the call that he had been traded to the Seattle Mariners and ordered to the Tacoma farm club. “My friends have really been supportive,” said Solak before learning of the trade. The Reds received cash in the trade.
“Louisville holds a really special place in my heart,” said Solak. “Between playing college ball here and the university. Meeting my wife, proposing to her here.”
During his freshman season at UofL, he delivered a two-run home run blast in the Super Regional against Kennesaw State that sent Louisville to the CWS for the third time in seven years.
Solak was drafted by the New York Yankees in the second round of 2016 draft. He has bounced around with organizations in Tampa Bay, and Texas, Cincinnati. Over parts of four seasons Solak batted .252 with 21 home runs and 93 runs batted in in the majors.
In Class AAA he said he played one series with the Rays organization at Slugger Field as a Durham Bulls in 2019.
The pass list for friends is always long when Solak comes to “The Ville” because of his connections here. When learning he didn’t make the Cincinnati Reds opening day roster, he was still positive.
“I pretty much was telling my friends I’ll be playing in Louisville,” said Solak. “I wanted to let them know so I could leave them some tickets. There are still a lot of guys that I loved playing with still living here.”
Solak was a Louisville Bat about 48 hours when he got the call he was traded to the Seattle Mariners and sent to Tacoma. “My friends have really been supportive,” said Solak before learning of the trade. The Reds received cash in the trade.
Solak said last Wednesday he hadn’t spoken with UofL coach Dan McDonnell yet. But he will find his way back to Jim Patterson Stadium. Don’t doubt that.
Before leaving spring training in Arizona, Solak received the usual care package. “I got a care package that all professional players get from coach,” said Solak. The package included some new equipment and a new book. “The book” is something McDonnell encourages all players to keep to help them with batting, pitching, etc. “As coach Mac says, ‘got to get your mind right.’”
Solak’s ultimate goal, of course, is to bind a permanent home in the majors. Louisville will always be a favorite destination otherwise.