Cardinals Ranked No. 4 in Baseball America Preseason Top 25
No. 4 ranking highest in school history surpassing No. 6 ranking following 2007 CWS appearance
DURHAM, N.C. - The Louisville baseball program received its highest ranking in school history on Thursday as the Cardinals were tabbed at No. 4 in the 2013 Baseball America Preseason Top 25.
The Baseball America ranking was two spots better than Louisville's previous best ever ranking of No. 6 following the Cardinals' College World Series appearance in 2007. Louisville's previous best preseason ranking was No. 8 in 2009 by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.
In its final analysis of the Cardinals, Baseball America had this to say about Louisville in 2013: "The Cardinals reached a regional final at eventual national champion Arizona last year, and anything short of their first trip to Omaha since 2007 will be a disappointment this spring. This team is a legitimate championship contender."
With the release on Thursday of the Baseball America poll and the USA Today preseason coaches' poll, which had UofL ranked at No. 25 overall, the Cardinals are ranked in each of the first four major preseason national polls announced for 2013. Louisville is also ranked No. 15 by Perfect Game and No. 22 by Collegiate Baseball newspaper. Future ACC foe North Carolina sits atop the Baseball America poll, while Arkansas is No. 1 in the USA Today coaches' poll.
Louisville, which won its third BIG EAST regular season title in the last four seasons in 2012, is led in 2013 by the return of seven of its school record 10 All-BIG EAST performers from last season, including second team outfielders Adam Engel and Cole Sturgeon. Most of the Cardinals' pitching staff returns for 2013, led by All-BIG EAST right-hander Jeff Thompson as well as BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and Freshman All-American righty Jared Ruxer.
Overall, Louisville returns 21 letterwinners from the 2012 team, which finished 41-22 and advanced to an NCAA Regional for the fifth time in six seasons. In his six previous seasons leading the Cardinals, McDonnell is 258-122 with three BIG EAST regular-season titles, two BIG EAST Tournament titles, two NCAA Super Regional appearances and one College World Series berth.
Louisville will open the 2013 season on Friday, Feb. 15 against Indiana (7:30 p.m., ET) in Dunedin, Fla., at the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge. The Cardinals' 36-game home slate at the newly expanded Jim Patterson Stadium is set to open on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 3 p.m., ET against Eastern Kentucky.
Baseball America Preseason Top 25
1. North Carolina 46-16 17
2. Vanderbilt 35-28 NR
3. Arkansas 46-22 6
4. Louisville 41-22 NR
5. Mississippi State 40-24 22
6. Oregon State 40-20 24
7. South Carolina 49-20 2
8. North Carolina State 43-20 12
9. Stanford 41-18 13
10. Louisiana State 47-18 9
11. Kentucky 45-18 20
12. UCLA 48-16 5
13. Mississippi 37-26 NR
14. Texas Christian 40-22 16
15. Oregon 49-16 11
16. Georgia Tech 38-28 NR
17. Florida 47-20 3
18. Rice 41-19 18
19. Oklahoma 42-25 14
20. Florida State 50-17 4
21. New Mexico 37-24 NR
22. Cal State Fullerton 36-21 21
23. Southern Mississippi 32-24 NR
24. Arizona 48-17 1
25. San Diego 40-17 NR