#13 Louisville Baseball 2015 Preview

Louisville Cardinals

Overall Rank: #13
Conference Rank: #4 ACC
#13 Louisville Baseball 2015 Preview
Louisville Team Page


Louisville begins their initial season in the ACC with a ton of momentum after a trip to the 2014 College World Series in Omaha. The Cardinals, thanks to the leadership of Dan McDonnell and a very sound investment within their infrastructure, have themselves in position to hit the ground running in year one in the ACC Atlantic Division. The race for the ACC Atlantic Division should come down to Louisville and Florida State in what should be a very hotly contested race.

2014: 50-17, 19-5
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Dan McDonnell

Field Players:
Infielder Zach Lucas was drafted in the 29th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but opted to return to school. Lucas was a team captain in 2014 and put up pretty good numbers, hitting.270 with five homeruns and 44 RBI. Infielder Sutton Whiting returns as well and he will lead the way for the Cardinals with his speed after stealing 37 bases in 43 attempts. It will be important though for Whiting to raise his batting average form. 216 to compliment his ability to get on base via the walk. The Cardinals should be very solid offensively even while facing better pitching in ACC play.

This should be the strength of this Louisville team this season which will help their transition to the ACC go that much smoother. Kyle Funkhouser will be the ace once again on Friday nights for coach McDonnell. Funkhouser was 13-3 with a 1.94 earned run average in 120.1 innings pitched. Funkhouser also limited opponents to a .201 batting average, which offset his 65 walks. Anthony Kidston will also be back in the weekend rotation and will be looking to build upon a 9-1 record from last season with a 3.40 earned run average. Kidston did a very nice job of limiting opponents in regard to extra base hits, surrendering just ten extra base hits in 76.2 innings pitched for the Cardinals.

Who to Watch:
The closer position is a very critical question that needs to be answered for the Cardinals right off the bat in 2015. They need to replace Nick Burdi. Burdi was brilliant in the closer role last season as he was 3-1 with a 0.49 earned run average, while limiting opponents to a .135 batting average. Teams could not get much done against him last season. The leading candidate to step into that role most likely will be Drew Harrington, who did a collect a save last season, or someone like Brandon Alphin, who had a sub 3.00 earned run average in 12 appearances out of the bullpen.

Final Projection:
A matchup with Cal State Fullerton at a tournament in Clearwater, Florida will set the tone for the upcoming 2015 season for Louisville. Another non-conference contest is a two game midweek series with fellow 2014 College World Series participant Ole Miss on March 10th and 11th at Jim Patterson Stadium. A couple of matchups with Kentucky and a visit from Vanderbilt later in the regular season highlight the rest of the non-conference schedule for the Cardinals. Miami comes to Jim Patterson Stadium to start the ACC schedule in the first weekend of March and will be a great battle of a traditional power versus an emerging power like Louisville. The weekend of April 4-6 brings about the toughest road trip of the ACC schedule when the Cardinals travel to Virginia to play the Cavaliers. Finally, the Florida State Seminoles come to Louisville in mid-May in what should decide the ACC Atlantic title in 2015. This Cardinals team should be a regional host with a great shot to get back to Omaha once again.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Zach Lucas, IF, 237
Hits: Zach Lucas, IF, 64
Home Runs: Zach Lucas, IF, 5
RBIs: Zach Lucas, IF, 44
Runs: Sutton Whiting, IF, 51
Stolen Bases: Sutton Whiting, IF, 37

Wins: Kyle Funkhouser, P, 13
Innings Pitched: Kyle Funkhouser, P, 120.1
Strikeouts: Kyle Funkhouser, P, 122
Saves: Drew Harrington, P, 1

Madness 2015 MLB Draft Rankings:
#9 Kyle Funkhouser


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