Gardner named AAC Player of the Year

University of Louisville left-fielder Jeff Gardner has been named Player of the Year in the American Athletic Conference. Gardner leads the Cardinals in several batting categories heading into the AAC tournament.

University of Louisville senior baseball captain Jeff Gardner has been tagged with the nickname "The Mayor" in recent weeks.

On Tuesday night (Election Night), Gardner won the election as American Athletic Conference Player of the Year. The award was given to Gardner at the opening ceremonies of the AAC Tournament in Clearwater, Fla.

Gardner was a unanimous first team All-American Conference selection after hitting .340 with eight home runs and 19 doubles while leading the league with 61 RBI and a .575 slugging percentage.

An all-conference player for the third consecutive season, Gardner enters the AAC tournament with a .327 career average, 22 collegiate home runs and 151 career RBIs.

Gardner is the first player of the year for the honoree for Louisville since Chris Dominguez earned back-to-back Big East Player of the Year awards in 2008 and '09.

Relief pitcher Nick Burdi, third baseman Alex Chittenden and pitcher Kyle Funkhouse were all three first-team All-Conference players. Pitcher Jared Ruxer and outfielder/pitcher Cole Sturgeon were second team, while second baseman Zach Lucas was a third-team selection.

The Cardinals open the AAC Tournament on Thursday at 3 p.m. against Memphis.

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