Dan McDonnell, entering his fifth season with the Cardinals, spoke with reporters and was joined by senior outfielder Drew Haynes, junior outfielder Stewart Ijames, junior second baseman Ryan Wright, junior right-handed pitcher Tony Zych and sophomore right-handed pitcher Matt Koch.
Louisville will open the 2011 season against Michigan on Friday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m., ET in St. Petersburg, Fla., on day one of the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge. The 20th-ranked Cardinals' home opener at Jim Patterson Stadium is set for Friday, Feb. 25 at 3 p.m., ET in game one of a three-game series against Toledo.
Last season, the Cardinals won their second straight BIG EAST regular season championship, finished with a school record 50 wins and earned the program's first ever selection as a national seed for the NCAA Championship. Louisville also hosted an NCAA Regional at Jim Patterson Stadium for the second straight season and closed last season ranked as high at No. 16 overall.
In his four seasons as the Cardinals' head coach, Dan McDonnell has led Louisville to impressive heights, including its first ever College World Series appearance in 2007, four consecutive 40-win seasons, 185 wins overall and a school record four straight NCAA Championship appearances. Louisville has also hosted NCAA post-season games in three of the last four seasons.
Selected Baseball Media Day Quotes from Head Coach Dan McDonnell"The goals haven't changed, but year-in and year-out, some of the faces will. The goals are to win the BIG EAST, to play and host an NCAA Regional, to get to Omaha and to win a national championship. The guys on the team know the standards and with those come expectations and pressure. I think that's a good and hopefully they do too. At this point, every kid that comes to the University of Louisville knows where the bar is and he has to play at that level."
"It starts with pitching. We have six guys that have started games in the BIG EAST and have won on the weekend – Koch, Amlung, Nastold, Zych, Shaw and Self. Six older guys who have had success at this level. For the opening weekend, we'll go with Matt Koch on Friday, Justin Amlung on Saturday and Mike Nastold on Sunday. Mike will be in a more limited role because he's still coming back from the injury, but we like keeping him in that starting role with a starter's mentality."
"Zych is the closer right now. He was very good last summer and very good in the fall. It's exciting having an experienced guy like Tony on the back end."
"In terms of position players, Wright, Ijames and Haynes are the three guys that have won a lot of games here and they will have to carry the load. J.J. Ethel is the senior catcher and even though he's only in his second year here, he was in the fire last year. He was behind a great leader in Jeff Arnold last year, so he knows what we expect from him. That gives us four older guys that we feel we can count on day-in and day-out."
"Ryan (Wright) has always led by example. Since his freshman season, he's been the epitome of a ‘punches the clock' guy. He shows up, gets his work in and he's very consistent. He's an RBI mongrel. He has 146 RBI in two years. I don't know if there's another player in the country that has 146 RBI in their first two years. It was also nice that he did that on the big stage with USA Baseball. He's right there in the middle of the lineup with Stewart Ijames. Stewart has had a lot of success and he's very mature. We have that right-handed and left-handed bat combination in the middle and we feel like our three-hole and four-hole hitters are as good as anybody in the country."