The University of Louisville baseball team began preparing for the 2015 season and a third consecutive trip to the College World Series on Monday afternoon, practicing together for the first time on day one of fall ball.
The Cardinals worked inside Jim Patterson Stadium during the afternoon sun, with head coach Dan McDonnell getting right to work. The Cardinals skipper, who is beginning his 8th season at U of L, was very hands on throughout the session.
"I love this time of year," said McDonnell. "It's fun."
19 letterwinners return from last seasons 50-17 squad, which became the third team in school history to reach Omaha. Among the returnees are a pair of captains, Zach Lucas and Sutton Whiting, and All-American pitcher Kyle Funkhouser. Redshirt freshman Blake Tiberi and talented class of freshmen are also competing for spots this fall.
"You have to make practices as competitive as possible to get guys to go through the highs and the lows of winning and losing," said McDonnell. "We didn't even get to do all of our drills today because of time restraints, but we got a lot in. We hopefully set the tone for the rest of the fall."
The Cardinals will practice throughout the week and will conduct their first intra-squad scrimmages of fall this weekend. Both scrimmages are open to the public, with the first on Friday at 3 p.m., ET and then again on Saturday at 11 a.m., at Patterson Stadium.