The last we saw Kade McClure was in Louisville's Super Regional opener when he allowed just three hits and struck out six in 5.1 innings of work in the Cardinals 5-2 victory over rival Kentucky. He'll take the mound again on Tuesday night when the Cardinals face Florida in the winner's bracket contest.
The Super Regional victory was just the latest important game for the 6-foot-7 right-hander. He made multiple important starts throughout the ACC regular season, as well as serving as the midweek starter during his sophomore season, to compile a 21-4 career record.
"He's pitched in a lot of big games," McDonnell said on Monday afternoon. "He's confident and he's a competitor, and he gets another opportunity to run out there and compete."
The goal for McClure is to remain focused and set the table for the Cardinals offense.
"Like last weekend we don't need him to throw seven shutout innings," McDonnell said. "We just need him to set the tone and really give us those first three innings and allow our offense to settle in.
"My challenge to him was that its a big park, our outfield, defensively, is phenomenal and we're really good in the infield, so my message to him has always been to pound the zone, attack the strike zone and let your defense work. Trust those guys and let them be involved."
Unlike the even-keeled Brendan McKay, who doesn't flash much emotion, McClure displays his outwardly for all to see. He's been known to pump his fist, cheer in excitement when leaving the mound and even did a high-step during his outing against Kentucky last week.
"He gives us a lot of energy," junior shortstop Devin Hairston said. "That's a different look than what Brendan gives us. Kade likes to pitch with that fire and that's something that the whole team feeds off of."
In 17 starts this season McClure has compiled an 8-3 record with a 3.43 ERA. He's registered 102 strikeouts in 97 innings pitched.
The Cardinals will face Florida's Brady Singer, who last started in the Gators Super Regional victory over Wake Forest to clinch the College World Series birth. The right-hander made 17 starts this season and entered the CWS with a 7-5 record and 3.29 ERA. He's thrown 108 strikeouts in 112 innings worked.