With temperatures rising into the 90s in the region, University of Louisville baseball coach Dan McDonnell was asked if the steamy conditions will be a negative factor for this weekend’s NCAA Super Regional games with Oklahoma State at Jim Patterson Stadium in Louisville.
“It’s hot, but it’s a good hot for us,” said McDonnell with a smile. “It’s supposed to be hot this time of year, and if your team is still playing in June, that’s good news.”
McDonnell’s Cardinals breezed through a 90-minute workout Thursday afternoon as dozens of fans watched and as TV technicians and the news media prepared for Friday afternoon’s series opener with the Cowboys (2 p.m., ESPN2).
About 1,500 temporary bleachers were added to U of L’s Jim Patterson Stadium, which will likely greet about 4,000 fans for tomorrow’s contest. A limited number of standing-room-only tickets were still available Thursday afternoon.
“Our guys were excited on the way home from Missouri after winning the Regional tournament. They celebrated Monday, got back to work a bit Tuesday, had a strong workout yesterday and then had a light one today,” said McDonnell. “We don’t want them wasting a lot of energy thinking about what might happen if we win; we want them thinking about what they’re going to do in the game at hand. The rest is just wasting time and resources.”
McDonnell, in his first year as a head coach and in his first season at U of L, likes the even-tempered way his squad handled last week’s tourney in Columbia, Mo.
“We want our guys to be excited,” he said. “After all, they’re college kids. They should have fun with this. But whether we’re ahead by a bunch of runs or behind by a bunch, it’s important that we focus on the next pitch and the next play, period. Last week we had to do that and were able to do so very well.”
NOTEBOOK: Unprecedented media coverage of the Cards’ baseball success story continued on Thursday as local TV stations pummeled the U of L coaches and players with questions for about 30 minutes. Even Lexington Herald-Leader sportswriter Chip Cosby was on hand along with a number of local columnists and reporters. Cards’ PR and PA man Sean Moth is managing the record number of media requests, along with sports information director Kenny Klein and his staff…The Cardinals’ 6-foot-7 pitcher Trystan Magnuson (Louisville Male High School) was the 56th pick in Thursday’s Major League Draft. He’ll start his pro career with the Toronto Blue Jays. Elsewhere, former NFL quarterback Phil Simms was spotted at Jack Fry’s restaurant in Louisville. His son Chris reported to campus this week to begin drills as a quarterback with Coach Steve Kragthorpe’s team…The Sporting News published an article this week listing some of its top upset picks for the 2007 college football season. TSN predicted that Kentucky will upset U of L on Sept. 15 at Commonwealth Stadium, halting the Cards current streak of four straight wins over the Wildcats. The magazine concludes that UK will go on to finish 6-6 and U of L will follow up on last season’s 12-1 record with a 10-2 regular season.
NOTE: Columnist Ron Steiner also appears on the Red & Blue Review, a weekly statewide TV sports show (Insight Ch. 2), and is a guest each Friday afternoon on the Cardinal Insider radio program (KRDS, 790AM). He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] .