#21 Louisville Baseball 2018 Preview

Louisville Cardinals
Overall Rank: #21
Conference Rank: #6 ACC
 Louisville Logo
Louisville made another trip to the College World Series last year, their third in six seasons. A return trip could prove to be difficult with so many players not returning. The biggest issue could be on the mound where Brendan McKay, Kade McClure and Lincoln Henzman need to be replaced. McKay was arguably the best player ever to suit up for the Cardinals. On the mound he went 11-3 with a 2.56 ERA. Nick Bennett will lead the way after going 5-1 with a 3.18 ERA in 65.0 innings of work. The pitching staff may not dominate as much as they did last year, but Coach Dan McDonnell has younger talent like Michael McAvene, Sam Bordner and Bryan Hoeing who should be ready to step into larger roles.
2017: 53-12, 23-6
2017 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Dan McDonnell
Key Departed Players:
Drew Ellis, IF/1B, .355 BA, 20 HR, 61 RBI
Brendan McKay, P/1B, .341 BA, 18 HR, 57 RBI, 2.56 ERA, 11-3 W-L, 109.0 IP, 146 SO
Devin Hairston, IF, .309 BA, 3 HR, 52 RBI
Kade McClure, P, 3.58 ERA, 8-4 W-L, 103.0 IP, 111 SO
Lincoln Henzman, P, 1.67 ERA, 3-0 W-L, 37.2 IP, 37 SO, 16 SV
Key Returning Players:
Josh Stowers, OF, .313 BA, 6 HR, 34 RBI
Devin Mann, IF, .268 BA, 8 HR 44 RBI
Nick Bennett, P, 3.18 ERA, 5-1 W-L, 65.0 IP, 61 SO
At the plate Louisville could take a step back as well. On top of his masterful pitching, McKay also hit .341 with 18 homeruns and 57 RBIs. The only player who outhit McKay was Drew Ellis, who is also gone. During his last season with the Cardinals he batted .355 with 20 homeruns and 61 RBIs. There are some powerful bats returning though, most notably Josh Stowers and Devin Mann. Those two juniors combined to hit 14 homeruns with 78 RBIs. However, there is not much experience behind those two and Louisville will need to get the most out of their talented, yet unproven players, to reach the College World Series again. But by the end of the season, those unproven players will be proven and this could be a very dangerous team.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament