Louisville held a practice at a local high school on Monday afternoon

OMAHA, Neb. - The Cardinals held a near 90 minute practice at a local high school on Monday afternoon

The Louisville baseball team enjoyed a day off following its 8-4 victory over Texas A&M to begin its College World Series journey.

The agenda for Monday included a 90 minute practice at a nearby high school and a team dinner later in the evening.

The Cardinals worked at Bellevue East High School, located about 20 minutes from the team hotel, with the goal of remaining focused and loose.

"We'll just do what we've done all season," U of L assistant Adam Vrable told Cardinal Authority.  "We won't do anything different other than maybe take fewer reps during (batting practice)."

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Professionalism

Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell has often commented about how loose this current squad is, sometimes using the term 'silly' to describe the off-the-field behavior of the players.  However, while they may enjoy having a different sort of fun off the field, the team quickly puts that to the side its time to work.

"They goof around and have fun with each on the bus, but when its time to stretch and get loose they love the game so much and they respect their teammates, so they stick to business," McDonnell said.

So, when the team hit the field for its off-day practice, to goal was remain locked in to their task.

"Just get their work.  This time of year they don't really have to do a lot.  You just want to stay sharp and kind of get the blood flowing.  I feel like they are ready to go tomorrow."

The Journey

This team is close and competitive.  When not on the diamond, the players often turn to card games, movies or other distractions during their down time. 

However, the reality is that this group of players really enjoys being together and its not only the on-the-field memories that they have made this such a memorable season.

"They'll say that some of the highlights of this is the journey and just being around each other," McDonnell explained.  "They are one of eight teams that's left that can hang out together.  They love their time together, so the baseball and trying to win is one side of it, but the other side is the unique experience they've had.

"They're part of small fraternity that can say that I've played in the College World Series, so the longer that they are out here the more that they'll enjoy being together."

Good Place

For the first time in program history, Louisville is participating in the 1-0, 1-0 game in the College World Series. 

"It's a good place to be," McDonnell said.  "They know they belong and they've earned it.  They know how talented they are and they trust their ability."

While Sunday's game against Texas A&M wasn't the cleanest or most perfect outing they've had, it was a testament to the team's determination to win.

"I just like the way we really competed in the first game.  It wasn't our best game, but as I've learned from watching these games its hard to play perfect baseball against other teams that are playing so hard.  I like the way we competed and ultimately we grinded it out."

Goosebumps Moment

There's often that 'wow' moment for players when they are playing in a championship atmosphere. The type of experience that sends a chill up your spine or gives you goosebumps.

For shortstop Devin Hairston, that moment came just as the team was departing the team hotel to play its first game at T.D. Ameritrade Park.

"My goosebumps moment yesterday was when we got on the bus and we had the police escort to the stadium," Hairston said.  "We had some friends and family outside the hotel cheering us on as we were going to the field.  That was exciting for me."


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