As the spotlight shines on the University of Louisville baseball team and its preparation in hosting a third consecutive NCAA Regional, another impressive trifecta for the program is also deserving of some bright lights.
Lost somewhat in the attention of the ACC Baseball Championship was the announcement that U of L sophomore outfielder Corey Ray had accepted an invitation to join the 2015 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, marking the third straight year that a Cardinal has been selected to the prestigious team. He follows Kyle Funkhouser, who led Team USA in strikes last summer, and former Cardinal closer Nick Burdi was a member of the 2013 squad.
"It’s obviously an honor to represent your country and I'm very honored," Ray told Cardinal Authority. "I thank God, my coaches, coach Mac and my family members, because it is a great honor to represent your country and play with USA on your chest."
Louisville's top slugger, Ray leads the team with 11 home runs and 48 RBI, while his .324 batting average is just slightly behind Nick Solak's team-leading .327 average. Just one of two players to start all 59 games this season, the All-ACC selection also has four triples, 14 doubles and has crossed home plate a team-high 45 times.
He's also lethal on the basepath, where his 32 thefts ranks 12th nationally. His steal home in the bottom of the ninth to secure a series sweep over Wake Forest has made ESPN's SportsCenter top highlights list countdown more than once.
Ray becomes the eighth Cardinal, seventh under the direction of McDonnell, to become a member of USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. Former Cardinals who are also Team USA alums are Ryan Wright (2010), Phil Wunderlich (2009), Tony Zych (2009), Justin Marks (2008) and Mark Jurich (2002).