Nick Solak is back.
The All-American and team captain is back in the University of Louisville baseball team’s lineup after missing 18 games. An eternity in college baseball, especially when the player in question is the team’s most prolific hitter. He was batting .461 when he suffered a hand injury on March 26 against Virginia.
Solak says he is feeling no pain in his hand. “Just kind of picking up where I left off and getting on base, scoring runs, playing good defense, being a leader in the infield and on the team – if I stick to that I think I can help the team win,” he told the Courier-Journal.
Solak was sorely missed even though UofL won 15 games while he was sidelined. Fortunately his absence coincided with strong performances from players like Devin Hairston, Will Smith and Colby Fitch, hitting .379, .378 and .376, respectively.
The junior outfielder, who had reached base in 33 straight games before the injury, has hit safely in all three starts since his return. He is currently hitting .444, with 10 doubles, a triple and one home run and 17 runs batted in.
His return coincided with a crucial stretch drive for the Cardinals. UofL is currently in second place behind Florida State in the ACC’s Atlantic Division with a 14-7 record and is 33-9 overall. There are only nine more conference games during the regular season.
Coach Dan McDonnell is obviously relieved. “Any time you get your captain and your junior All-American back like that, it’s a big boost,” he said.