LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Louisville Cardinal baseball team lost seven draft picks from last year’s squad but still has enough returning talent to earn at least a Top 12 ranking in six preseason polls.

“As coaches, we’re prepared to turn over a lot of players,” said head coach Dan McDonnell, who enters his 11th season with the Cardinals. “The amazing thing is: to lose so many guys to the draft, (we are) still somewhat of an old team.”

U of L returns 19 letterwinners from last year’s 50-win team, including preseason National Player of the Year Brendan McKay. The junior notched a 12-and-4 record with a 2.30 ERA and batted .333 with six home runs last season.

McKay is scheduled to take the mound in Friday’s season opener against Alabama State in Clearwater, Florida.

“I think it’s kind of a good feeling to know you’re going to be that guy on the first game getting to start off the season,” McKay said. “

The Cardinals will then meet Maryland on Saturday, with 12-game winner Kade McClure set to start. On Sunday, U of L freshman right-hander Michael McAvene is scheduled to start against Ball State.

The Cardinals home opener is slated for Wednesday February 22nd against Eastern Kentucky.

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