The Louisville Cardinals are bound for Omaha and the College World Series for the second straight season.
U of L (50-15) will take on Vanderbilt Saturday night in opening round play and the pursuit of the school’s first national baseball title.
Coach Dan McDonnell’s team swept Kennesaw State in super regional play over the weekend to clinch the World Series berth, with two come-from-behind victories.
“Sometimes you can feel the presence of ‘step back, just let them go,’” McDonnell said after Saturday’s clincher. ”You don’t always have to bunt, you don’t always have to steal, sometimes just step back and let them play. Just trusting them, just trusting this team.”
McDonnell fought back tears as he deferred credit for his team’s success to his assistants and players.
“It’s uncomfortable when people say I take these kids to Omaha, because I don’t. They take me.”
For senior outfielder Cole Sturgeon and many of his teammates, the return the College World Series is a welcome second chance after last season’s disappointing early exit from Omaha. Sturgeon has high expectations for this team.
“It’s a culture we’ve created here, from the players before us, the guys that are here now, the coaches, all the support staff. It’s a competitive atmosphere and it pays off every day in the long run,” he said.
Vanderbilt (46-19) advanced to the College World Series with victories in the super regional over Stanford.
First pitch for the Cardinals and the Commodores is Saturday night at 8:00.