LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The University of Louisville has gotten terrific production from a number of young guys, especially in the post-season. Freshman like Nick Solak, Corey Ray and Josh Rogers. Solak has started 24 games, is hitting .367 on the year and has driven in 15 runs in the last 11 games. Ray, like Solak from the Chicago area, is hitting .347 and has added speed and spark to the lineup. And Rogers, from New Albany High School is 3-3 with a 3.67 ERA and has only gotten better filling in as the Cardinals third starter in the absence of injured right-hander Jared Ruxer.
Dan McDonnell is thrilled with the contribution he's gotten from his newcomers, but he gives a great deal of the credit for their advancement to a strong group of leaders in among his upperclassmen.
"If a coach gets on him, well that's just coach-talk, it's like mom and dad talk sometimes," said McDonnell. "When a Junior or Senior gets on you and says, 'hey, this is the way we do things, this is the way you're supposed to do it, or this is why coach is getting on you,' I think it's a lot easier for those young guys and it seemed like the younger guys really respected, as they should, the older guys to let them lead."
"It's been a smooth, easy year for a coach because we succeeded in the the classroom, we succeeded in the community. Fortunately we didn't have many if any off-field issues so when you look back on it, it's been a fine group, an easy group to coach."
U of L (50-15) opens College World Series play Saturday night in Omaha at 8:00 pm ET against Vanderbilt (46-19). WDRB will begin its coverage from Omaha Friday.