The Louisville baseball team received a pair of major conference awards on Monday as two-way standout Brendan McKay was chosen as the 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman of the Year and Dan McDonnell was named ACC Coach of the Year.
In addition to earning two of the four major awards, the Cardinals had a league-high five players named to the All-ACC first team to go with two second team selections and two All-Freshman Team honorees as voted by the league’s 14 head coaches. McKay (Darlington, Pa.) led the way for Louisville earning All-ACC first team accolades as a starting pitcher, second team accolades as a utility player and All-Freshman team recognition.
The Cardinals were also represented on the All-ACC first team by senior infielder Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa.), junior starting pitcher Kyle Funkhouser (Oak Forest, Ill.), sophomore relief pitcher Zack Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill.) and sophomore outfielder Corey Ray (Chicago, Ill.). Sophomore starting pitcher Josh Rogers (New Albany, Ind.) was named to the second team and righthanded pitcher Lincoln Henzman (Lexington, Ky.) was chosen for the All-Freshman team.
McDonnell will guide the Cardinals into this week’s ACC Baseball Championship at Durham Bulls Athletic Park as the No. 1 overall seed. Louisville finished the regular season at 42-14 overall and set an ACC record for conference wins in a regular season with a 25-5 mark in league play. The Cardinals won all 10 of their ACC league series.
McDonnell owns a 401-173 record in nine seasons at Louisville and is the only head coach to lead his team to the NCAA Division I College World Series each of the past two seasons. This year’s honor marks his first Coach of the Year recognition in any of the three conferences in which the Cardinals have competed during his tenure.
McKay is a leading candidate for the John Olerud Award, given annually to the nation’s top two-way player, after making an impact on the mound and at the plate in his first collegiate season. McKay owns an 8-2 record and 1.64 ERA and leads ACC pitchers in strikeouts with an even 100. Before moving into the Cardinals’ regular weekend rotation, the Darlington, Pennsylvania, freshman recorded four saves out of the bullpen. A regular at first base when not on the mound, McKay is batting .318 with a pair of home runs, 29 RBIs and four stolen bases.
Whiting closed the regular season with a 322 average overall, a team-high 36 walks, 34 runs scored and 14 stolen bases in 53 starts as the Cardinals’ leadoff hitter. Named All-ACC as a shortstop with 43 starts, the two-year team captain also has 10 starts at second base this season and hit .336 in 28 ACC games. A two-time all-conference selection, Whiting enters the postseason with 176 career collegiate starts and ranks fifth in career stolen bases at Louisville with 78.
Funkhouser closed his third season with the Cardinals at 7-4 on the mound with a 2.99 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 14 starts and 93.1 innings pitched. A two-year all-conference honoree and an All-American last season, Funkhouser enters the postseason second in career wins at Louisville with a 25-8 collegiate record, second in career strikeouts with 267, seventh in career starts with 38 and seventh in innings pitched at 268.1.
After entering the season as the leading candidate to be Louisville’s closer, Burdi has been up to the task during his second collegiate campaign finishing with eight saves, a 5-0 record and a 0.78 ERA in 16 relief appearances. The hard-throwing righty has 21 strikeouts in 23.0 innings and opposing hitters are batting just .145 against him.
Starting all 56 games and seeing time in at all three outfield positions this season, Ray leads the Cardinals with a .329 average, 11 home runs, 48 RBI, 13 doubles, 45 runs scored and 31 stolen bases in 39 attempts. In 30 ACC games, Ray has been even tougher at the plate with a .352 average, seven home runs, 27 RBI and 24 steals, including one very memorable swipe of home in a walk-off win against Wake Forest.
In his first full season in Louisville’s weekend pitching rotation, Rogers has a 7-1 record with a 3.62 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 14 starts and 79.2 innings pitched. In 10 ACC starts, the talented lefty is 5-0 with a 2.56 ERA and 45 strikeouts. The Cardinals have won all 13 of Rogers’ starts in series finales, including six outings in series-deciding games.
Henzman has served as a key member of Louisville’s bullpen leading the pitching staff in appearances with 23 during his rookie season, including 21 in relief. In 42.2 innings of work this season, Henzman has a 4-1 mark with a 2.32 ERA and 36 strikeouts. In his 11 ACC appearances, Henzman was 1-0 with a 1.02 ERA.
The No. 1-seeded Cardinals will open the 2015 ACC Championship against either No. 8 North Carolina or No. 9 Virginia on Wednesday at 7 p.m., ET at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Louisville will continue its Pool A schedule against No. 5 Clemson on Thursday at 3 p.m., and No. 4 Florida State on Saturday at 11 a.m.
ACC Player of the Year
Will Craig, So., Wake Forest
ACC Pitcher of the Year
Matthew Crownover, Jr., Clemson
ACC Freshman of the Year
Brendan McKay, Fr., Louisville
ACC Coach of the Year
Dan McDonnell, Louisville
2015 All-ACC Baseball Teams
C – Chris Okey, So., Clemson
1B – Brendon Hayden, Sr., Virginia Tech
1B – Will Craig, So., Wake Forest
2B – George Iskenderian, Jr., Miami (FL)
2B – Nate Mondou, So., Wake Forest
3B – David Thompson, Jr., Miami (FL)
SS – Sutton Whiting, Sr., Louisville
OF – DJ Stewart, Jr., Florida State
OF – Corey Ray, So., Louisville
OF – Stuart Fairchild, Fr., Wake Forest
DH/UT – Zack Collins, So., Miami (FL)
SP – Matthew Crownover, Jr., Clemson
SP – Brendan McKay, Fr., Louisville
SP – Kyle Funkhouser, Jr., Louisville
SP – Nathan Kirby, Jr., Virginia
RP – Zack Burdi, So., Louisville
C – Andrew Knizner, So., NC State
1B – Preston Palmeiro, So., NC State
2B – Andy Perez, Sr., Duke
3B – Matt Gonzalez, Jr., Georgia Tech
3B – Kenny Towns, Sr., Virginia
SS – Daniel Pinero, So., Virginia
OF – Chris Shaw, Jr., Boston College
OF – Reed Rohlman, Fr., Clemson
OF – Jake Fincher, Sr., NC State
DH/UT – Tyler Krieger, Jr., Clemson
DH/UT – Brendan McKay, Fr., Louisville
SP – Josh Rogers, So., Louisville
SP – Thomas Woodrey, Jr., Miami (FL)
SP – Zac Gallen, So., North Carolina
RP – Billy Strode, Sr., Florida State
RP – Josh Sborz, Jr., Virginia
C – Garrett Kennedy, Sr., Miami (FL)
1B – Quincy Nieporte, So., Florida State
2B – Logan Ratledge, Sr., NC State
3B – Kyle Fiala, So., Notre Dame
SS – Eli White, So., Clemson
OF – Steven Duggar, Jr., Clemson
OF – Willie Abreu, So., Miami (FL)
OF – Skye Bolt, Jr., North Carolina
OF – Robert Youngdahl, Sr., Notre Dame
OF – Saige Jenco, So., Virginia Tech
DH/UT – A.J. Murray, Sr., Georgia Tech
SP – Brandon Gold, So., Georgia Tech
SP – Andrew Suarez, Sr., Miami (FL)
SP – Benton Moss, Sr., North Carolina
SP – Ryan Smoyer, So., Notre Dame
RP – Bryan Garcia, So., Miami (FL)
2015 ACC Baseball All-Freshman Team
Dylan Busby, 3B, Florida State
Kel Johnson, OF, Georgia Tech
Brendan McKay, SP/UT, Louisville
Lincoln Henzman, RP, Louisville
Brian Brown, SP, NC State
J.B. Bukauskas, P, North Carolina
Brandon Bielak, SP, Notre Dame
Sean Guenther, RP, Notre Dame
Adam Haseley, OF, Virginia
Pavin Smith, 1B, Virginia
Justin Yurchak, 3B, Wake Forest
Stuart Fairchild, OF, Wake Forest