The postseason always provides a new and re-energized start for teams and individuals. It's a reason that Cinderella teams always arise and players become sports hero's.
While this University of Louisville baseball team, which has been a favorite to reach the College World Series all season long, won't sneak up on anybody, it is enjoying a greater impact from a number of players on the roster, among them Logan Taylor.
The sophomore from Lexington (Ky.) Catholic was used sparingly prior to the start of NCAA postseason play. He logged 54 appearances, primarily as a late-game defensive replacement or pinch-runner. Of his 10 starts this season, seven came in the month of February. With few opportunities at the plate, his batting average dipped to a season low .125 by mid-April before rising to .286 by hitting .500 during the last two weeks of the regular season.
The late season improvement further opened the door for opportunities during the NCAA tournament.
“It's just a mindset that you have to stay ready all the time,” he explained. “I'm pretty sure everyone is, like Blake (Tiberi) got in and got an AB (on Sunday). Everyone is just ready to go whenever we need to call upon them.”
Taylor has been called upon a lot since the start of the Louisville Regional a week ago. He's appeared in all five games, making three starts, and has made a significant impact on this team's success. He's hitting .667 (8 of 12) and, along with fellow sophomore Corey Ray, leads the team with seven RBI in NCAA action. He's crossed home plate four times and has a pair of doubles and stolen bases. He connected for his first career home run to spark the Cardinal's 9-3 victory over Cal State Fullerton on Sunday.
“He's a phenomenal center fielder,” U of L head coach Dan McDonnell said. “He's one of those players that if you could start 10 or 11 players every game he would start every game. But you can only start nine. But if you notice, and I don't have our stats in front of us, Logan has played in almost every game. He's close because he might not start the game but we're hoping to get him in the game as a pinch runner and then as a defensive replacement. So, sometimes he starts and plays the whole game but if not we're going to bring him off the bench. You know the last month we've given Logan these spot starts and he's been very good against the righties.”
The Cardinals face Cal State Fullerton in game three of the Louisville Super Regional on Monday evening at 7 p.m. The winner of the elimination game advances to the College World Series.