Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Opening Day

Obviously this is a very exciting time of the year. The kids have been working hard. For the most part we have been able to get outside, but the weather has presented some challenges. The pitching rotation is set for the 1st weekend, but the line-up is still up for grabs. On the mound Friday will be senior captain Zack Pitts. Sophomore Justin Marks will start Saturday and senior captain BJ Rosenberg on Sunday. Senior Jimmy Belanger looks to be the Tuesday starter which leaves only an inning or so this weekend in order to have him ready against Wright State. The bullpen is anchored by junior Gavin Logsdon and the young guns. Freshmen Dean Kiekhefer, Gabriel Shaw, Neil Holland, Bob Revesz and Thomas Royse are ready to get their 1st taste of college baseball. Sophomore Matt Lea (transfer from Miss. State) is coming along well. Matt missed all of last year with a shoulder injury and threw to his 1st live batter Feb. 3rd.
As for the position players, we'll talk about them next week. There are 2 injuries, junior shortstop John Dao will be out for 2 months due to an injury he received at one of our scrimmages. Sophomore Chris Pelaez is recovering from 2 hamstring pulls and will not start this weekend. He might see some at bats in the right situation. Hope to see everyone out at the ballpark this weekend.
Go Cards!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Back at home for a Big Big East Weekend.

We have just finished a two week road stretch going 6-2 in the eight straight games away from Jim Patterson Stadium. We won 2 out of 3 at Uconn, won at Western Kentucky, swept at Seton Hall and lost Wednesday night at Kentucky. We are currently 28-12, 11-4 in the Big East in 2nd place. The good news is all our goals are still reachable. By playing well the next 4 weeks, we have an opportunity to win the Big East and get to 40 wins during the regular season. Again, we will have to play well, and at times play very well to accomplish these goals. Without listing individual statistics this time(go to for stats), as a team we are hitting .325, fielding .970 and pitching at an era of .283. We are very pleased with all these numbers, but lets not forget the most important numbers are WINS!!

South Florida comes to town with a very familiar face in Lelo Prado. I am not about to go over his history here, because honestly I don't know it, but I am sure he will have many friends and fans come out to see him. He comes to town with a very good South Florida team looking to rebound after a tough weekend getting swept by Rutgers, currently in 1st place. Saturdays game will give Dugout Club members the opportunity to spend time with fellow members as well as meet some players and get a few words from myself before the game ( has the details).

Finally, let me end with some really good news. We may have lost the game Wednesday night, but picked up a win as the RPI rankings were released for the first time this season. This is an important number in sports as it ranks teams as to where we stack up in the eyes of the NCAA. Being ranked in the top 25 for polls is nice, but being ranked high in the RPI is better. We are not in the top 25 yet, but lets look at the numbers. We are currently 40, while Kentucky is 53. We have identical records, having beat each other at home, yet we are 13 spots ahead of them in the eyes of the NCAA. You can stick your chest out because you are in the SEC, as they do in recruiting, but right now if the season ended today, Kentucky would be the 9 seed, not going to their conference tournament making it hard to go to the Regionals. We would finish 2nd, and by playing well in the Big East Championship could receive a high seed in the NCAA's. Again, we still have a lot of work ahead of us, but our players, parents, fans and alumni have a lot to be proud of as to what this Louisville baseball team has accomplished so far. Hopefully, we can all be proud at the end of the season.

Hope to see you at the ballpark.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Our first Big East weekend was a success. We would of liked to have gotten a sweep, but got beat by a very good college pitcher in game 1. So taking 2 out 3 on the road was good. For the week we were 3-1 again which makes for 4 straight weeks of playing 3-1 baseball, 12-4.

Zack Pitts and Trystan Magnuson continue to be very dominant on the mound. The 2 freshmen, Justin Marks and Tyler Mathis also continue to give us quality outings on the weekend with a chance to win. During the middle of the week Jimmy Belanger and Skylar Meade have given us good outings.

But a couple of weeks ago I promised to discuss the hitters and our offense, so here it goes:
It starts with the seniors and the 2 table setters as I call them. Boomer Whiting hitting .413 and Chris Cates hitting .345 have done a great job of getting on base and setting the tone for the offense with on base %'s at .505 and .404. Boomer has just broken the single season stolen base record with 33sb's and Chris with 9sb's. The 2 hottest hitters are Logan Johnson and Isaiah Howes. Isaiah leads the team in batting average .433 while Logan is hitting .378. Logans 16 extra base hits and 26 rbi's lead the team as Isaiah ranks second with 15 extra base hits and 4th with 18 rbi's. There ability to recognize the breaking ball in the dirt(not swinging at them) has given them the chance to be in positive counts and have success hitting the fastball. Great hitters hit the fastball!!!! And to do that you have to be in good counts (0-0, 1-0, 2-0, 3-1, etc.) And if you have seen us play we have 3 homeruns on 3-0 counts and 1 double. The guy that can do it all has been Dan Burton, hitting .323 with 19 rbi's, on base % .396 with 11 stolen bases. Basically he ranks in the top 3 or 4 in all offensive categories. Pete Rodriguez is hitting .302 and has been very consistent lately. The top 6 hitters I just mentioned are all senoirs, so the credit goes to those guys 1st.

Jorge Castillo, Derrick Alfonso and Chris Dominguez have been hot and cold. Jorge is coming on strong. Derrick had some good weekends and some bad. We are working on his swing. Chris has battled some wrist problems and that has affected his swing, but he has swung it well the last 4 games. He probably gets pitched to as tough as anyone. Meaning he doesn't get many fastballs to hit with a lot of breaking balls in the dirt. The better job he does of recognizing pitches and laying off the low breaking ball, and taking more walks, the more good pitches he will get to see when they have to throw him a strike.

Alec Lowrey has been very good coming off the bench as a pinch hitter and has started 6 games. Justin McClanahan has 7 starts with a huge 3-run homer at Eastern Kentucky. Jeff Arnold has 3 starts behind the plate and has shown us that he will be a very consistent hitter. Chris Pelaez and Greg Del George have played in 26 games combined and add depth to the outfield and infield.

This group of hitters all played this past weekend at Villanova and have made our offense one of the scariest offenses to face in the country. We are hitting .324 as a team with 21 homeruns(several balls hit the outfield wall), 52 doubles and 68 stolen bases. These numbers all rank in the top 25 in the country.

We are very aggressive at the plate and on the bases. We don't always make the best decisions, but are getting better. We are definitely a fun and exciting team to watch and the kids play VERY HARD!!

Give credit to Chris Lemonis, our recruiting coordinator and hitting coach and Xan Barksdale who also helps with the hitters. These 2 spend many hours throwing batting practice, breaking down video, hitting extra in the cages and creating an atmosphere where are hitters are accountable for their preparation on a day to day basis. Hitting a baseball is the toughest skill in all of sports and it takes a great commitment to be succesful.

Next time you will hear from one of our players or coaches as they assess where we are and what we are doing.

Go Cards,
Dan McDonnell

Friday, March 2, 2007

6 of the first 8 games on the road.

We are ready to be at home. The first 8 games were a good test for our club, especially having to play 6 of them on the road. And not just on the road, but at two universities who have spent several years playing in the NCAA Regionals, Southern Mississippi and Stetson.

Our pitching has been the bright spot so far, throwing strikes and minimizing the big innings. To win on a consistent basis you have to pitch and pitch well. That means throwing strikes and not giving free bases to the other team. In conjunction you have to play good defense, and with our experience and talent on the field there is no reason to not play good defense.

Zach Pitts has handled the #1 role well setting the tone for the weekend by going at the hitters. He works fast and makes it easier to play defense behind him. The players know when he steps out there on Friday night we are going to get a quality start. The two freshmen, Tyler Mathis and Justin Marks have done well in their Saturday, Sunday roles as starters. We really had no choice but to throw them into fire and see how they would respond due to the way the schedule was set-up. They are very talented and have given us a chance to win in their combined 4 starts.

The bullpen is always a trial and error situation going into a season. Trystan Magnuson is the first guy out and gives us a chance to close a game out even if he has to throw 3 or 4 innings. It is almost like combining 2 starters to win one game. After that, Jimmy Belanger, Kyle Hollander, Kyle Thornton and Colby Wark ( all players we signed this summer or at the winter break, all rhp's) have done well coming out of the bullpen. There is no "closer" per say to this point as they all have the talent to get outs and we feel confident in running anyone of these guys out there with the game on the line. We need Andrew Salgueiro, another rhp, to be more consistent when he takes the rubber. Skyler Meade, Gavin Logsdon and Kenny Barnett are our 3 lefties out of the bullpen with Skylar getting two midweek starts already. He gets pulled after 3 or so innings so he can be available on the weekends.

Roger Williams, our Pitching Coach, has done an excellent job getting this pitching staff ready to compete.

After the weekend we will discuss the offense. Hope to see you at the ballpark as we play at Jim Patterson Satdium 11 out of our next 12 games.

Dan McDonnell
Head Coach

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Welcome to the Dugout Club

Thank you for checking the Coach's Blog; where I post my thoughts on training, recruiting, team development, etc. Check back often for the latest information.