With more than 70 professional scouts sitting in the section behind home plate there to see him, University of Louisville junior Brendan McKay put on a show during his opening-day performance.
McKay not only pitched six scoreless innings on the mount but hit a two-run homer in U of L's 7-0 win over Alabama State at Spectrum Field. The Cardinals are playing three games in Clearwater, Fla., this weekend.
"It's what you expect," U of L coach Dan McDonnell said of McKay's output.
The two-time reigning John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year, McKay was selected as a preseason first-team All-American by several news outlets and is one of the leading candidates for National Player of the Year.
And he looked the part on Friday.
McKay started the season by striking out the side in the top of the first inning and had had five strikeouts in the first two innings. He allowed just four hits, struck out nine batters and didn't have a walk in the game.
"It's neat to get started," McKay said. "Everybody has that anxiety or whatever you want to have, knowing that you are ready to play someone else. It's good to get to play somebody else with something on the line.
"Not a bad start. Six innings of work, it's a good start."
McKay only threw 82 pitches and 62 were strikes, including 28 swinging strikes. He faced 21 batters in the outing and only one inning did Alabama State have more than one runner - in the fifth when back-to-back singles were followed by two McKay strikeouts.
"I was really focused in and trying to minimize as much as I can," McKay said. "I just tried to not let those guys advance and minimize the damage."
At the plate, McKay went 2-for-3 with one run scored and two RBIs. He smashed a solo home run to right field in the fifth.
The win is the 22nd of his career for McKay, who now is tied for fourth in program history. He's third in school history in career strikeouts with 254, trailing only Kyle Funkhouser (376) and Justin Marks (305).
<iframe src="//widgets.boxxspring.com/MzAsNDE2Njc2OTU" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>