McDonnell talks about latest signings

Inside The Ville visited with new University of Louisville baseball head coach Dan McDonnell on Wednesday for a feature in an upcoming issue of our monthly magazine. During our discussion, the Cardinals new skipper talked about his first signings at U of L.

On Wednesday, the University of Louisville announced that two new baseball players had signed to play for the Cardinal program. First-year head coach Dan McDonnell spoke with about the latest two to ink with the Big East Conference tournament runner-ups.

"We've added two pitchers that will start with us this August," he said. "They're both right-handed pitchers."

"One is Kyle Thornton and he is one of the top closers in the country," he continued. "He had a 1.29 E.R.A. with 17 saves last year with Cowley Community College in Kansas. He originally signed with Arizona State and then he got wind that something might be happening there and he ended up getting his release from scholarship there and was able to sign with us."

Thornton's 17 saves was tops in the NJCAA and would have ranked third in the country among NCAA pitchers. He earned NJCAA All-District, All-Region and All-Conference honors after striking out 35 in just 21 innings.

"We also signed Tyler Mathis from Memphis, Tennessee," McDonnell said. "I'm counting on both guys to come in and contribute immediately.

The 6-foot Mathis was named First Team All-State by the Tennessee Baseball Report as both a junior and senior. He compiled a 12-2 record, to go with a 0.85 ERA and 117 strikeouts in 99.1 IP last spring.

McDonnell, who has remained busy assembling his staff of assistants and meeting with his returning team since his hiring in late June, developed a reputation as one of the top recruiters in the country during his previous stints, most recently at Ole Miss, and says his approach to finding the best players will remain the same.

"It's something that takes a great deal of time and is something that you have to live with seven days a week, twelve months a year," he explained. "You have to have your phone always accessible, so that you can always be there for the kids, their moms and dads, the high school coaches and AAU coaches. You have to always be available."

After reaching the Big East Conference finals this past May, the Cardinals will begin preparations for their 2007 season with individual instruction on August 24.

Be sure to subscribe to Inside The Ville magazine to read more comments from Coach McDonnell.

ITV RADIO NOTE: Coach Dan McDonnell will be a guest on Inside The Ville Radio on September 12 at the Bluegrass Brewing Company in St. Matthew's. Stay tuned for additional details.

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