The University of Louisville baseball team completed its fall ball schedule on Monday afternoon with Game 5 of the 10th annual Pizza Bowl at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Pizza Bowl Results
Started by Dan McDonnell shortly after his hiring in 2006, the Pizza Bowl is an annual competitive intra-squad series that caps off the six week fall ball season. The Cardinals roster was split into two squads - Adam's Army and McGrath's Marines - and faced each other in a five game series.
McGrath's Marines claimed the overall series 3-1-1, clinching with a 2-0 win on Sunday. The two played into an extra inning in the fall ball final on Monday afternoon before finishing in a 2-2 tie.
Featuring pitching aces Kyle Funkhouser and Brendan McKay, who combined for eight strikeouts, the two teams entered the final inning still knotted at 0-0 before both teams plated a pair of runs in the extra inning to remained tied. The scoring began when pitcher Anthony Kidston stepped out of the dugout as a pinch-hitter and delivered a run-scoring double. He also scored on a double by Michael Bolmar to give the Marines a brief 2-0 advantage. Army evened the score on an RBI double by Corey Ray, who later scored on a fielding error that allowed Blake Tiberi to reach first. Tiberi would attempt to win it for the Army when attempting to reach home on a double by Austin Clemons but was thrown out at the plate.
Following a six week fall schedule, which included a trip to the Dominican Republic, the Cardinals will now spend their time away from the diamond. The focus now shifts to the weight room, where McDonnell wants his players to become "stronger and faster," plus finishing the semester strong in the classroom.
"We're ready to move on," McDonnell told Cardinal Authority. "It was a good fall. We were able to get a lot accomplished."
With a roster that returns a number of key veterans, McDonnell has been pleased with the leadership that has continued to develop and the performance of the incoming freshmen class.
"We got great leadership, we got a lot of talented older players," he said. "We saw a lot of things from the new guys. I thought Shane Hummell and Adam Wolf are two new pitchers that showed us that they are going to be able to help us in the spring.
"Position player wise, the four freshmen position players competed. Devin Mann showed us that he can hit and that he has a chance to be a special hitter. (Josh) Stowers, (Chris) Botsoe and (Daniel) Little all showed that they're versatile, they're athletic and can do a little bit of everything."
Kidston Having Fun
Senior Anthony Kidston was one of Louisville's more dominant pitchers his first two seasons as a Cardinal, earning Freshman All-American honors in 2013 and compiling a 9-1 record as a sophmore. As a junior, Kidston struggled on the mound and his mental approach to the game and made just 12 appearances after being a weekend starter to begin the season.
This fall his focus has been returning to his prior self. He's had a very strong fall season, working as both a starter at times and out of the bullpen.
"He's in a good place mentally and physically," said McDonnell. "He had a really good fall and he was used in different roles. A senior pitcher who gives us a ton of value. He can obviously start at any time if we need him to, but he got a lot of experience coming out of the bullpen. At this point right now, he just wants to get outs and we want him to get outs. As his confidence continues to grow and he gets back to the old Anthony Kidston that is a huge weapon to have."
Kidston credits his success this fall to getting back to enjoying the game.
"It just came down to coming back out and having fun," he said.
That approach was clearly evident on Monday afternoon when he asked to pinch hit in a 0-0 game. McDonnell granted his request and the result was an RBI double.
"He competes," said McDonnell. "He loves to compete."
Making a Move
Kade McClure has used the fall season as an opportunity to prove he's worthy of joining the Cardinals starting rotation.
As a freshman, McClure made 16 appearances, making four starts, and compiled a 1-1 record with a 4.18 ERA. This fall his performance has grabbed the attention of the Cardinals coaching staff.
"[He had a] typically ok freshman year, ups and downs and an ok summer, but I thought he put together a very consistent fall to make a move to give another starter, another option there going into the spring," McDonnell said.
The Cardinals 2015 recruiting class has received a lot of positive press in recent days.
The latest recruiting class is ranked nationally by three different publications. D1Baseball.com rates the newest crop of Cardinals as the eighth best class in the country, with Baseball American placing in No.10 in the nation. Collegiate Baseball Newspaper lists U of L with the No.21 recruiting class.
Check out Cardinal Authority's photo gallery from throughout the fall ball season by clicking here.