Crain, Gibson team up at catcher for Cards

The University of Louisville baseball team prepares for the NCAA Tournament with a double threat at catcher. Kyle Gibson and Shane Crain are been splitting time this season behind the plate and have been the key to the Cardinals' success.

Two catchers has been better than one for the University of Louisville baseball team this season.

Juniors Shane Crain and Kyle Gibson have tag-teamed the catching duties for the Cardinals and it's worked out well for a team that will host an NCAA Regional this weekend at Jim Patterson Stadium.

Crain (right) has played in 37 games, starting 33 times, while Gibson has played in 32 games, getting the starting nod 25 times.

"It's worked out really well," Gibson said. "It's a competition for sure, but a friendly competition. We are still fighting but we give each other crap every day. We're competing to make each other better, which helps the team."

Crain said the two catchers have become close friends on and off the diamond, noting they even hang out together away from the park.

"It's been fun and it really hasn't been that hard," he said. "We push each other every day in practice and as coach says, if you don't have any competition then you are not going to get any better."

The 6-foot-2, 204-pound Crain is a native of Lexington, Ky., who came to U of L prior to last season from Wabash Valley Community College.

Crain started the opener against Indiana and saw extended time in late March and early April when Gibson was sidelined with an injury.

"I just try to go out and do my job," Crain said. "I don't know if I am plus, plus in anything that I do, but I just try and do what's needed of me.

"We pride ourselves in that we go out and do our jobs."

Crain is hitting just .226 from the plate with five doubles, one home run and 14 RBIs. He doesn't have an error in the field and has thrown out 13 of 30 runners who have attempted a stolen base against him.

Gibson is a junior from Henderson County High School who started 43 of 49 games as a sophomore. He is hitting .319 with five doubles, 12 RBIs and 20 runs scored. He has also stolen two bases.

On defense, Gibson does have two errors but has thrown out eight of 25 runners who have attempted to steal a base.

"My role is a big defensive role," Gibson said. "I have to get pitchers into the game, just being there for them. I worry about defense and playing solid there at my position more than I do hitting.

"But it's been good with (he and Crain). We're pushing each other and not letting each other take it easy. We're always helping each other, to help the team."

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