The University of Louisville baseball team received its highest preseason ranking in school history Monday landing at No. 2 in the 2016 Collegiate Baseball newspaper preseason poll.
Monday’s ranking was two spots better than the Cardinals’ previous best preseason ranking of No. 4 by Baseball America during Louisville’s 2013 College World Series season. The No. 2 ranking matches the best overall ranking in school history equaling the high point last season when the Cardinals were second in the nation on May 4, 2015 in the D1Baseball.com and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association polls and again on May 11, 2015 in the D1Baseball.com, NCBWA, USA Today & Perfect Game polls.
The Cardinals have received a preseason top 10 ranking in four straight seasons (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016) and have earned a preseason national ranking in nine straight seasons (2008-2016) overall. Monday’s ranking extends a record-setting run for the Louisville baseball program, which has remained ranked in at least one major national poll every week since the release of the 2012 preseason rankings — the longest such stretch in school history.
Sitting atop the Collegiate Baseball newspaper preseason poll is Florida, while No. 3 Vanderbilt, No. 4 Miami and No. 5 Texas A&M round out the top five behind the Cardinals. Louisville is the highest ranked team among seven ACC programs and is joined by the Hurricanes at No. 4, reigning NCAA champion Virginia at No. 9, No. 16 Florida State, No. 21 Georgia Tech, No. 22 North Carolina and No. 27 Notre Dame.
Burdi, Funkhouser, Ray, and McKay Named Louisville Slugger All-Americans
Junior pitcher Zack Burdi, senior pitcher Kyle Funkhouser, sophomore pitcher/first baseman Brendan McKay and junior outfielder Corey Ray were named Tuesday as First Team Louisville Slugger Preseason All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball newspaper while McKay was projected as the national player of the year by the publication.
Louisville, ranked No. 2 in Monday’s Collegiate Baseball newspaper preseason poll, led all schools with its four first team selections. Each of the four Cardinals received All-American accolades last season.
Last season, McKay was chosen as the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year and was named national Freshman of the Year by Baseball America, D1Baseball, Collegiate Baseball newspaper and Perfect Game. He was also tabbed as a First Team All-American by Baseball America, D1Baseball, the NCBWA and Perfect Game, was named as the ACC Freshman of the Year and was an All-ACC First Team selection. A member of the USA Collegiate National Team over the summer, McKay had a 9-3 record with a 1.77 ERA and 117 strikeouts in 96.2 innings and 20 appearances on the mound for the Cardinals, including 13 straight weekend starts, while also hitting .308 with four home runs, 34 RBI, 38 walks and 32 runs scored in 58 starts as a hitter.
Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill.) was a Third Team Louisville Slugger All-American and an All-ACC First Team selection last season earning a 6-1 record with nine saves and a 0.92 ERA in 20 relief appearances. A member of the 2015 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, Burdi finished with 30 strikeouts and issued just eight walks in 29.1 innings of work on the mound for Louisville during his sophomore season.
Funkhouser (Oak Forest, Ill.) ranks second in career wins with his 26-9 collegiate record, including an 8-5 mark and 104 strikeouts in 17 starts and 112.1 innings pitched in 2015. An All-America honoree during both his sophomore and junior seasons, Funkhouser has a 2.47 career ERA with the Cardinals and ranks second in career strikeouts with 281, fourth in career starts with 41 and sixth in career innings pitched at 287.1. In June, Funkhouser was selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft but elected to return to Louisville for his senior season with the Cardinals.
Ray (Chicago, Ill.) earned Second Team All-America honors last season from Baseball America and the NCBWA and was a Third Team All-America selection by D1Baseball after hitting .325 with 11 home runs, 56 RBI, 15 doubles, five triples and 34 stolen bases while starting all 65 games in the outfield. A standout performer over the summer with the USA Collegiate National Team, Ray was also an All-ACC First Team honoree during his sophomore season in 2015.
The No. 2 ranked Cardinals are slated to open the 2016 season on Feb. 19 at Jim Patterson Stadium in the first game of a weekend series at home against SIU Edwardsville.