University of Louisville freshman designated hitter Jake Snider entered the tournament batting .227 with 10 career hits and only one start in the last two months, but in the bottom of the sixth inning of Louisville’s NCAA Regional opener against Radford, Snider connected on his first career home run.
“I didn’t think it was out,” Snider said after the game.
While Snider initially doubted the biggest play of his career, the two-run homer couldn’t have come at a better time.
After jumping out to a commanding 6-0 lead in the third inning, the top-seeded Cardinals found themselves tied with fourth-seeded Radford in the bottom of the sixth inning. Snider’s homerun drove in Josh Stowers, and the Cardinals reclaimed their lead at 8-6. Louisville never looked back, defeating Radford 11-6.
“I just thought he was locked in,” Stowers said. “He was putting some good swings on the ball. I was more focused on stealing third, but I saw the guy fiddling around with the changeup grip, and I guess he left it up and Jake put a good swing on it.”
Snider finished the game 2-for-3 at the plate and drove in three runs. He said it felt good to hit his first home run on such a big stage.
“Yeah that was always in the back of my mind,” Snider said. “Obviously seeing guys like Brendan McKay, Drew Ellis, and then both of these guys [Josh Stowers and Devin Mann] it’s always back there so it’s good to get that off my shoulders.”
Snider’s father, Eric Snider is the hitting coach for the University of Louisville baseball team. Coach Dan McDonnell said coach Snider has done a great job coaching his son like all of the other hitters.
“I give his dad a lot of credit,” McDonnell said. “Jake’s grown up around the game, his dad is a phenomenal hitting coach, and you can tell, I think he’s going to be a phenomenal college hitter. I’ve always felt that.”
Louisville will face second-seeded Oklahoma on Saturday at Jim Patterson Stadium at 7 p.m.