The University of Louisville baseball team received its fourth 2017 preseason ranking, including its second top 10 nod, after the Cardinals were slotted at No. 7 in the Baseball America preseason Top 25 released Monday morning.
Along with Monday’s ranking, Louisville has also been ranked sixth in the Perfect Game preseason Top 25, 11th in the Collegiate Baseball newspaper poll and 12th in the D1Baseball Top 25. The Cardinals have earned a preseason national ranking in 10 straight seasons (2008-17) and have remained ranked in at least one major poll every week since the 2012 preseason rankings – the longest stretch in school history.
TCU is ranked No. 1 in the Baseball America Top 25 and in the top spot in each of the four preseason polls released thus far. No. Florida State, No. 3 Florida, No. 4 LSU and No. 5 South Carolina round out the top five. Louisville and Florida State are among seven ACC programs in the Baseball America Top 25, the most for any conference, and are joined by No. 10 Clemson, No. 14 NC State, No. 16 Virginia, No. 17 North Carolina and No. 21 Georgia Tech.
The Cardinals will open the 2017 season on Feb. 17-19 in Clearwater, Florida with a trio of games at Spectrum Field, the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies. Louisville will face Alabama State on Feb. 17 at 3 p.m., ET, Maryland on Feb. 18 at 6 p.m., and Ball State on Feb. 19 at 1 p.m. The 2017 home-opener for the Cardinals is set for Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 3 p.m., ET at Jim Patterson Stadium against Eastern Kentucky.
LOUISVILLE BASEBALL IN 2017
The Cardinals return a trio of All-Americans and 19 total letterwinners from last year’s team, which won its second straight ACC Atlantic Division championship, advanced to its fourth straight NCAA Super Regional and reached the 50-win plateau for the fourth time in school history. Two-time John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year and two-time First Team All-American Brendan McKay returns for his junior season after finishing with a 12-4 record, 2.30 ERA and 128 strikeouts on the mound and a .333 batting average, six home runs, 19 doubles and 41 RBI at the plate last season.
Junior righthander Kade McClure, an All-American selection by the NCBWA and Perfect Game in 2016, is expected to give the Cardinals a 1-2 All-American punch in their weekend rotation after closing his sophomore season with a 12-0 record, 2.54 ERA and 77 strikeouts 13 starts and 15 total appearances. Joining McKay in the Louisville lineup is junior shortstop Devin Hairston, who hit .361 with three home runs, 16 doubles and 45 RBI while earning ABCA Third Team All-America honors last season.
In 10 seasons guiding the Louisville baseball program, head coach Dan McDonnell has placed the Cardinals among the nation’s elite programs with three College World Series berths, six NCAA Super Regional appearances, nine NCAA Regional bids, seven regular season conference championships, two conference tournament titles, 29 All-Americans and 456 wins overall.