For the fourth consecutive season, Louisville is headed to the Super Regional round of the NCAA postseason. The Cardinals swept the regional round at Patterson Stadium to extend their nation-leading 12 straight victories in the Regional round. U of L, which will play the winner of the Nashville Regional, will learn of its Super Regional schedule on Tuesday.
Louisville has now was 22 consecutive games at home, which is the longest streak in the country. Fellow ACC member Miami is next with a 12-game home winning streak.
All-Louisville Region Selections
The Cardinals dominated the All-Region selections following the conclusion of the Sunday's title game, with seven different members of the roster earning the honor.
U of L two-way star Brendan McKay was chosen as the Most Outstanding Player of the Regional. The sophomore earned the victory in game two after throwing 10 strikeouts in 5.2 innings, while also connecting for a two-run home run in the first inning. Offensively, he finished the regional going 5-of-15 at the plate with three RBI and three runs scored.
P - Drew Harrington, Louisville
P - Kyle Funkhouser, Louisville
C - Will Smith, Louisville
1B - Danny Rosenbaum, Louisville
2B - Nick Solak, Louisville
SS - Devin Hairston, Louisville
3B - Blake Tiberi, Louisville
OF - Troy Montgomery, Ohio State
OF - Ryan Fucci, Wright State
OF - J.D. Orr, Wright State
DH - Brendan McKay
Most Outstanding Player: Brendan McKay
A Coincidence for 'Mr. June'
Due to his performance at the plate in the NCAA postseason, first baseman Danny Rosenbaum's teammates have turned to calling him 'Mr. June.' It began last spring when he enjoyed a 2-for-4 outing in a Regional win against Michigan and then a 4-for-5 performance in a Super Regional win over Cal State Fullerton.
“I think the players throw around in the dugout ‘Mr. June’," said head coach Dan McDonnell. "He played really well last year. He had a big home run. He had some big doubles. He just played really well last year in the Regionals and Super Regionals. He's a very mature young man. He has great perspective."
McDonnell's comments about the junior were spurred by his outing against Ohio State. Highlighted by a pair of home runs, Rosenbaum drove in four runs in the Cardinals 15-3 win over the Buckeyes.
In January, the Lafayette Hill, Penn., native was chosen as the first recipient of the Muhammad Ali Leadership Scholarship. As the world was beginning to mourn the passing of the 'The Greatest' on Saturday, Rosenbaum, who said Ali was someone that he "looked up to," was fueling the blowout victory to lift his team into Sunday's Regional final, something he called "a coincidence."
"Nothing else to it," he explained. "I got some pitches to hit and hit them hard."
More on Ali's relationship with Louisville baseball can be found here.
Another Key Performer
Sophomore outfielder Logan Taylor may not have received All-Region accolades this spring (he did in 2015), but he was strongly considered. The in-state product from Lexington Catholic appeared in all three contests, going 3-for-5 at the plate, with a pair of walks, and four runs scored. He also made a couple of impressive catches, including a highlight reel diving grab against Ohio State.
"From my angle you can see the ball and you can see the angle and he is a long way from that ball and to come up with that catch," McDonnell of the highlight catch. "Funk was upset because he was doing the in game interview that inning and they to stare a t the camera so he was telling me he didn’t see the catch. I just said ‘turn on Sports Center and you will see it.’ Corey Ray is a great outfielder and he can play all three spots but there is a reason that Logan is in center. He is Boomer Whiting like, Adam Engel like, one of our more explosive first step outfielders I have coached here at Louisville."
The ACC Pitcher of the Year didn't have an ACC Tournament to remember. The Louisville sophomore gave up seven runs on nine hits against Virginia in the fifth inning of U of L's final game of the conference event last week and he was determined to not let to impact his play in the NCAA postseason.
Part of his process to overcome the difficult outing last Saturday, Harrington approached his head coach to volunteer to lead the team's chapel service on Sunday morning.
"It’s not often we have a player lead and give chapel," McDonnell explained. "Usually it’s Chris Morgan, our FCA director, a former athlete, or a pastor or somebody. Here’s a college kid standing in front of the room heading up the chapel. He wanted to do it. He asked if he could do it. You know as a coach it’s a good feeling knowing you have leaders like that. And he talked about Philippians, forgetting what is behind, pressing on, and eager with anticipation. It was just a great message he had because he struggled last weekend. He talked about the outing he had against Virginia. You know, as a coach you felt like ‘man, this kid’s ready’. This kid is, obviously, mature enough to move past that game in the ACC tournament, and you saw what he did today."
Harrington responded with a more typical outing, throwing 7.1 shutout innings, while striking out five to pick up his twelve win of the season.
The ACC has four programs that have already advanced to the Super Regional round. Joining the Cardinals are Boston College, Florida State and Miami.
Click here for an updated bracket.