LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville baseball opens the 2018 season Friday at noon against Richmond in South Carolina.  The Cardinals are a member of the Charleston Crab House Challenge, playing three teams in three days.

After the 2017 College World Series run, the Cards lost seven starters to graduation and the MLB Draft. Relying on young, inexperienced players has many questioning Louisville’s ability to get back to a CWS or contend in the Atlantic Coast Conference.  

Junior center fielder Josh Stowers silenced doubters Tuesday.

“I think we can be just as good as we were last year," Stowers said. "There’s some questions marks, just like there were going into last season. We just continue to prove everybody wrong, so I have the greatest confidence going into this season opener.”

Stowers is just one of two starters returning to this year’s squad. Junior Devin Mann started at second base. As of right now, the other seven positions are up for grabs. Head coach Dan McDonnell said he needs big-time performances from younger guys so the team can remain one of the nation’s best in college baseball. To keep his team focused, McDonnell created a new motivational theme for this season.

“We hung a big sign on the side of the building that reads, ‘I dare you,’ and it was put there for a reason," he said. "This group is being challenged. We’re daring them. Right now, we have the longest super regional streak in the country the last five years. So, can they make it six years in a row?”

And the dares didn’t stop there.

“We’re the winningest program in college baseball the last four years, so this group is being dared," McDonnell added. "We want to keep an edge about us and make sure we’re doing everything in our power to make this program continue to move forward."

The Cards will be dared Friday at noon against Richmond. They face The Citadel on Saturday and George Mason on Sunday.

Copyright 2018 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.