#1 Louisville Cardinals (46-12, Big East At-Large Bid)
Ty Young - .357 BA, 13 doubles, 4 HR, 55 RBI, 26 steals
Cole Sturgeon - .338 BA, 33 RBI, 12 steals
Coco Johnson - .324 BA, 6 HR, 44 RBI, 20 steals
Sutton Whiting - .320 BA, 28 RBI, 22 steals
Adam Engel - .238 BA, .363 OBP, 40 steals
Chad Green - 9-3, 2.09 ERA, .243 BAA
Jeff Thompson - 10-1, 2.09 ERA, .174 BAA
Dace Kime - 24 apps. (7 starts), 5-1, 3.08 ERA, .243 BAA
Nick Burdi - 25 apps., 0.88 ERA, 14 saves
Cody Ege - 32 apps., 1.32 ERA, .105 BAA, 43 K in 27.1 IP
The Cardinals stumbled in the Big East tournament, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are a very real contender to make a return trip to Omaha.
Offensively, the Cardinals are going to look to put a lot of pressure on the defense. As a team, they have 142 stolen bases. Five players have 12 or more steals. Four of those have 20 or more. This isn’t just slap hitting team, though. Coco Johnson and Jeff Gardner (9 HR) give the middle of the order some punch.
On the mound, they are as talented as they are deep. Green and Thompson give the rotation co-aces that can shut down an opponent on any given day. In the bullpen, the Cardinals feature ten different pitchers that have made a dozen appearances or more. As a staff, they have a 2.52 ERA with a batting average against of .214.
The question with Louisville is always how they are going to respond against top-flight competition. This isn’t as big an issue as it was back in 2007 when Dan McDonnell’s program really got rolling, but the fact is that while the Big East is improving every year, they still aren’t the SEC or ACC. The Cardinals just don’t see pitching like they are going to see this weekend on a consistent basis.