Prior to Dan McDonnell's arrival to the University of Louisville, the baseball program had been largely mired in mediocrity. The Cardinals had only made the NCAA Tournament once (2002), and barely sported a winning all-time record (.509%).
But once Coach Mac took over as the skipper, he completely transformed the program. Since his hiring in 2007, he has gone 618-244 (.717) while leading the Cardinal Nine to five College World Series appearances & missing the NCAA Tournament just one time in 2011.
As you can imagine, he has seen a plethora of talented ballplayers come through the Louisville Baseball program over his 14 year tenure. But who are the best of the best during his time at 3rd & Central, and belong on the "All-Dan McDonnell Era" Team?
Catcher: Will Smith (2014-16)
Smith was the primary catcher throughout most of his collegiate career, starting 114 games and making 151 appearances. He hit .382 with 7 home runs and 43 RBI in his junior campaign, resulting in him being selected No. 32 overall by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
First Base: Andrew Clark (2008-10)
Transferring from Ole Miss after his freshman year Clark led the Cards in walks in all three of his years at Louisville. His senior season saw him bat an impressive .370 with 13 home runs and 61 RBI.
Second Base: Nick Solak (2014-16)
Solak was a consistent hitter, batting .346 over the course of his collegiate career. His junior season saw him bat .376/.470/.564 with 14 doubles and 5 home runs, getting drafted at No. 62 overall in the second round by the Texas Rangers.
Shortstop: Devin Hairston (2015-17)
Easily one of the best defensive players to ever come through the Louisville Baseball program. A career .301 hitter to boot, he won ACC Defensive Player of the Year & was named a finalist for the Brooks Wallace Award in 2017.
Third Base: Chris Dominguez (2006-09)
One of the best position players in program history, Dominguez is second in program history in home runs with 61, and the leader in RBI with 218. He featured back-to-back seasons with a batting average over .360, 20+ home runs and 75+ RBI.
Outfield: Corey Ray (2014-16)
The second-highest draft pick in program history (No. 5 in 2016 - Milwaukee Brewers), Ray had a deadly combination of speed and power. It culminated with a breakout junior year, where he ranked second in the nation in stolen bases with 44, while also hitting .310 with 15 home runs and 60 RBI.
Outfield: Boomer Whiting (2003-07)
Whiting was a menace on the base paths, as he is the only player in program history with triple digit career swiped bags at 112. In his lone season under Coach Mac, he set the Louisville single-season stolen bases record with 73 (Corey Ray's 44 in 2016 is second), and led the team with 80 runs.
Outfield: Josh Stowers (2016-18)
A consistent two year starter over three years as a Cardinal, his breakout season came during his junior year where he established himself as an all-around offensive threat. In 2018, Stowers hit .336 with 9 home runs and 60 RBI, while drawing 52 walks and stealing 36 bases.
Designated Hitter/Utility: Brendan McKay (2015-17)
Simply put, the greatest player in program history and arguably the best in college baseball history. He was a three-time First-Team All-American & John Olerud Award winner, and also won the 2017 Golden Spikes Award & Dick Howser Trophy. All-time, he is first in strikeouts (391), second in wins (32) and third in ERA (2.23). He also smacked 28 home runs & 132 RBI over the course of his collegiate career.
Starting Pitcher: Kyle Funkhouser (2013-16)
Funkhouser is one of the most prolific pitchers in the history of the Louisville Baseball program. He is first in pitching starts (56), innings pitched (380.2), wins (35), and is second in strikeouts (376) only to Brendan McKay.
Starting Pitcher: Justin Marks (2007-09)
Marks unquestionably set the table for future Louisville pitching greats. By the time he was drafted at No. 92 overall in the third round of the 2009 MLB Draft, he was Louisville's all-time leader in wins (29), ERA (2.96), strikeouts (305) and starts (48).
Starting Pitcher: Reid Detmers (2018-Present)
It's hard to say how gaudy the numbers from Detmers would have been if Louisville was allowed a full 2020 season, but there's no denying his greatness. He is currently fourth on Louisville's all-time strikeouts list with 284, and blew the Louisville single-season strikeout record out of the water with 167.
Relief Pitcher: Nick Burdi (2012-14)
The greatest relief pitcher in program history. Nick Burdi holds the all-time and single season saves record with 34 & 18 respectively, is the program leader in ERA (1.79). He is a two-time First Team All-American and winner of the 2014 Stopper of the Year.
Relief Pitcher: Zack Burdi (2014-16)
The Burdi Bunch sure does produce great relievers. Zack Burdi finished his collegiate career right behind his brother Nick in all-time saves with 20, including 11 in his junior year.
Relief Pitcher: Lincoln Henzman (2015-17)
Henzman rounds out the top three on Louisville's all-time saves list with 19, right behind both Burdi brothers. His junior campaign alone saw him collect 16 saves, earning him First-Team All-American nods and winning the 2017 Stopper of the Year.
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