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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – U of L’s pitching staff was the strength of the 2020 team.

"You look at the guys we’re bringing back, especially in our lineup and in our pitching staff, we’ve got a lot of experience," senior pitcher Adam Elliot said. "That’s the goal. That’s always been the ultimate goal. I think if you come in with the mindset of not trying to win a national championship, you don’t really get anywhere."

That quest is made easier with the return of Elliott and fellow senior pitcher Luke Smith.  

"Playing professional baseball’s been a dream of mine since I could walk," Smith said. "So, having that opportunity at my fingertips was a tough decision."

The pair made their announcements on Wednesday. Both said the uncertainty of the current minor league season and the chance to compete for a national title swayed each away from pursuing free agency.

"When it came down to it, I felt like if they want me, they can draft me next year," Elliott said.

For Smith, a return also means a chance to become the Cardinals’ Friday night starter. He finished the shortened 2020 season with as many starts as both Detmers and Miller.

"Everybody wants a win to start of the weekend," Smith said. "That’s what I thrive off of, the competitiveness, the energy in the ballpark that feeds my energy. I’m going to work for it. I want it really bad. I know there’s a lot of guys on the staff that really want it, too."

Smith said he’s also excited for the team’s offense, which he called "incredible."

An early 2021 prediction from Baseball America has the Cardinals as a top-10 team. If things go according to plan, they will be.

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