Another Burdi has turned into 'real stopper'

University of Louisville sophomore Zack Burdi has become the Cardinals' closer this season and followed in his brother's, Nick, footsteps as one of the best in the nation. Burdi started the season injured but has a 5-0 record and nine saves heading into the ACC Tournament.

University of Louisville pitching coach Roger Williams was hopeful but wasn't certain who would replace Nick Burdi as the team's closer this season.

Burdi, drafted by the Minnesota Twins last June, set a school record with 18 saves for the Cardinals and finished his career with a record 34.

"That's a tough act to follow," U of L coach Dan McDonnell said in February.

But the Cardinals have found someone - and a familiar name - to follow in his footsteps. Sophomore Zack Burdi, who started the season on the injured list with an oblique strain has become the main closer for the Cardinals.

"He gives us a real stopper," Williams said. "Zack has done a great job for us. He struggled some last season but has really come on for us. He's been really good for us."

The sophomore stopper has hit 101 three times - all in one inning against Clemson - and has a 5-0 record with nine saves after collecting the save on Wednesday night in the first round of the ACC Tournament against North Carolina.

"Zack has a real desire to be great," U of L coach Dan McDonnell said. "It's rare to find it in a kid and I'm lucky to have coached two of them (the Burdi brothers)."

McDonnell said he wasn't sure how many people in the world could throw 100 mph fast ball but "it's not many, maybe 25 at the most."

He noted with the younger Burdi, who was named 11th annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year watch list, that he has done it as a sophomore.

"It's a very small percentage of people whatever it is," McDonnell said. "It's really neat to have been able to coach a couple of them and watch a couple of them."

Burdi, who has allowed only 11 hits and two earned runs in 24 innings this season, admitted to looking at the radar gun when he clipped the 100-mph mark at Clemson.

"I think every pitcher is guilty of looking back at the scoreboard," he said. "I looked back at Clemson and did a double-take. It was a shocker a little bit.

"But I'm not satisfied. The power is there but I want to make sure I can control it. I don't think 101 all over the place is very effective."

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