The staff may be new, but many of the players are the same. Louisville returns a nucleus of hitters from last season's big East Tournament runner-up. New coach Dan McDonnell assembled a quality staff that has people excited about the Cardinals this spring.
Louisville has a crew of senior hitters to lead the team into 2007. Shortstop Chris Cates (.332/1/32), utilityman Logan Johnson (.319/10/49), first baseman Jorge Castillo (.317/4/44), catcher Derrick Alfonso (.313/2/31), and outfielders Pete Rodriguez (.326/3/16), Boomer Whiting (.293/0/4), Daniel Burton (.300/2/33), and Isaiah Howes (.275/6/41) all are experienced and proven. Redsirt freshman third baseman Chris Dominguez, jc transfer Justin McClanahan, and Vanderbilt transfer Greg Del George should all be solid contributors.
Pitching is the big concern. Pitching coach Roger Williams is without the projected ace B.J. Rosenberg (6-5/4.72) who will miss 2007 with injury. Zach Pitts (1-1/5.74), ), Jake Smith (3-3/4.88), and Skylar Meade along with freshmen Tyler Mathis and Justin Marks are the top weekend options. JC transfers Kyle Thornton and James Belanger, Oklahoma State transfer Kyle Hollander, and Ole Miss transfer Colby Wark are bullpen options along with senior Trystan Magnuson (4-2/3.69).
The non-conference schedule has some beef on it as the Cardinals take on Southern Miss, Northwestern State, Southern Illinois, Stetson, California, Kent State, Kentucky, Western Kentucky, and Evansville. In the Big East, Louisville hosts preseason favorite Notre Dame but visits perennial contender St. John's and South Florida, coached by former Louisville head coach Lelo Prado.
Louisville should be able to score runs. If the new pitchers make an impact, this team will contend with Notre Dame, St. John's, and South Florida in the Big East.
Strengths: Experienced position players and proven hitters
Weaknesses: Totally unsettled on the mound
The Southeastern 64 is made up of teams from the following conferences: ACC, SEC, Conference USA, Sun Belt, Atlantic Sun, Colonial, Big South, Southern, Southland, Ohio Valley, MEAC, and SWAC. The following schools were also included due to their geographic location: South Florida, Louisville, Louisiana Tech, and Charlotte.