Cardinals Baseball Team Opens Big East Tourney

Cardinals Coach

(The C-J keeps running this photo of Cardinals baseball coach Dan McDonnell with every baseball article online. We think it’s great and all, and sorta reminds us of Marky Mark Wahlberg, but c’mon Courier, stop being stingy and send a photographer out to a ballgame!)

The University of Louisville Cardinals baseball team plays in the opening game of the Big East tournament today at the early, odd hour of 10 AM. They’ll enter the tournament as the fourth seed, and will play fifth seed Seton Hall (who have a 30-23 overall record). This morning’s C-J article previewing the game features no boastful predictions from Cards coach McDonnell:

The Cardinals and [Seton Hall] Pirates did not meet in the regular season. Seton Hall owns the league’s second-best team ERA (3.64) and second-best opponent’s batting average (.247).

McDonnell expects to see junior lefthander Corey Young on the mound today [for Seton Hall]. Young was among the league leaders with a 2.91 ERA and 77 strikeouts this season. Seton Hall usually needs good pitching to win, because it ranks 11th in the conference in team batting average and runs.

“Everybody is known for something, and their strength is definitely pitching,” McDonnell said.

Louisville will counter with right-hander Matt Lea (4-0, 2.93 ERA) today. Lea transferred from Mississippi State last year while rehabilitating a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. He didn’t face live batters until January and began the season in the bullpen before moving into the rotation April 29. U of L has won all three of his three starts.

…A win today for the Cards would likely mean a matchup against top seed St. John’s tomorrow in the double-elimination tournament. Beating the Red Storm, which is ranked No. 18 by Baseball America, could do wonders for U of L’s NCAA Tournament hopes. Louisville went into last year’s Big East Tournament with 38 victories, won two games and earned a trip to the regionals on its way to the College World Series.

McDonnell has said 40 wins is usually the magic number to get into the NCAA Tournament, but he’s not making any predictions.

“Nobody really knows,” McDonnell said. “That’s the nature of this business. You’re always trying to be greedy. Every coach probably wants one more win than he has.”

Let’s wish the Cards luck!

Additionally, Cardinals third basemen Chris Dominguez was named the 2008 Big East co-Player of the Year last night:

Dominguez hit .363 with a league-leading 18 home runs, driving in 65. He enters the postseason as the league leader in total bases (151) and is 10th in the Big East in batting, second in slugging (.677) and RBI, third in runs (60) and fifth in hits (81).

Wow! And one final note: all of the Cardinals postseason games will be broadcast in Louisville on WAVG 1450 AM.

UPDATE 9:15 AM, May 21: The Cardinals defeated Seton Hall 12-3 yesterday, and will play Villanova at 5 PM today.

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