CWS Primer: Louisville Cardinals
Omaha History: 3rd CWS appearance
Overview: The Louisville Cardinals return to the CWS for the second straight season. This squad features many of the same characteristics as last year’s squad. It’s a team full of power arms and plenty of speed. Their pitching staff excels in the knockout. They’re like prime Mike Tyson punching out 551 batters this season and ranking 5th in the country in strikeouts per nine innings. On offense they use their speed to turn singles into doubles. They rank second in the country with 132 stolen bases on the season. They are aggressive by nature and put the pressure on batters and defenses from the opening pitch. Their style forces opponents into mistakes and they are quick to capitalize.
Road To Omaha: For the second straight season Louisville swept through regional play and super regional play. They cruised through their regional before winning two hard-fought games with Kennesaw State.
Players To Watch:
Nick Burdi - Another closer makes our players to watch list. Burdi is the rare closer with enough stuff that he was taken with a top 50 pick in this year’s draft. He posted a microscopic 0.51 ERA this season and racked up 18 saves. He struck out 62 batters in just 35 innings. Burdi is the one who knocks and has hitters’ blood running cold in the ninth inning.
Jeff Gardner - The 8th round draft pick was one of the most productive hitters in the country this season. He piled up a .321 average with 9 homer runs and 68 RBI’s. Gardner’s a big bat in the middle of the order that drives in all of their speed on the base paths.
Take The Title If…: If they can use last year’s experience help guide them in this unique park they have the ability to do some major damage. If their base-running can reek havoc and force their opponents into errors they very well could bring home the first baseball title in school history.
A Quick Trip If…: If they repeat last year’s mistakes they will once again leave Omaha thinking what could’ve been.
Why Should Omaha Cheer For Them?: Local product Grant Kay starts at first base for the Cardinals. That alone should give the birds the most Omaha fans in the stands.