Inside Cardinal Baseball: Weekly notebook

Jim Patterson expansion

Cardinal Authority will cover University of Louisville baseball from now until the beginning of the season with a weekly notebook and some recruiting updates. Here's a notebook as we sit 56 days from opening day.

STADIUM RENOVATION MOVING ALONG

A major renovation on Jim Patterson Stadium began on June 15 and is scheduled to be complete before the new University of Louisville baseball season begins.

The renovation is still on schedule and looks impressive.

"There are two kinds of programs, those that win and those that say they are going to win," U of L coach Dan McDonnell said. "You either win now or won in the past or say you are going to win. It's the same thing with facilities.

"You either have great facilities or say you are going to have great facilities. Nobody recruits and says, ‘Hey we're going to have the same stadium for the next 10 years.' You either have a beautiful facility or have plans for a beautiful one.

"The neat thing about that, we have both. We have this great facility we have been winning with and then, ‘Bam, here's four or five million more and we're going to expand it' and then we're getting new turf. We have it both."

McDonnell said the staff and players are "really excited" for the renovation, having watched the construction all fall and now into the winter.

The expansion project will increase the number of chair back seats at Patterson Stadium to 3,000 while increasing the overall seating capacity to over 4,000. The $4 million project will make the stadium among the top 30 largest ball parks in the nation and the biggest in the Big East Conference.

The project also includes a 6,400-square-foot terrace accessible from the chair-back seats and a two-tiered ground level terrace extending from the first and third base dugouts. The press box will also be doubled in size, while there will also be a visiting team clubhouse behind the third-base dugout.

"I think the terrace is going to be a hit," McDonnell said. "Baseball is a real walk-around sport, this will give them more standing room. It's impressive."

U of L has hosted two NCAA Regionals and one NCAA Super Regional since opening the stadium in 2005. The renovation will allow the school to hose those events in the future without bringing in temporary bleachers.

McDonnell said from the day the renovation was announced that it has "positively" had an impact on U of L's recruiting efforts.

"And you know Tom (Jurich) isn't finished," McDonnell said. "Tom will sit there and say, ‘Dan we're not going to stop this.' This is phase two and when you talk to Tom, there's visions of phase three and four."

BASEBALL AMERICA GIVES CARDS SOME LOVE

Baseball America gave the Cardinals some love this week on the website in the "Fall Notebook" with the articles main photo of sophomore pitcher Nick Burdi.

The article notes the Cardinals have a lot of arms on the roster but says, "perhaps the most electrifying stuff belongs to" Burdi. The right-hander had a solid summer in the Cape Cod league.

Burdi went 1-2 with a 5.56 ERA last season with three saves in 13 appearances as a freshman for the Cardinals.

"Burdi is averaging 99, in one-inning stints," McDonnell told Baseball America. "He's throwing 10, 12, 15 pitches per inning, bumping some 102s, 101s, 100s, then some 96s and 99s. It's an electric 92 mph slider, downward. He's working on the changeup. He's the sexy pick to close, but you've still got to be able to do it. He's learning how to control the running game, field his position—everything college teaches you. He's maturing in all those areas. He arguably could be the hardest worker on the team—he's so passionate, works so hard, wants to be great."

CARDS RANKED IN THE TOP 25

The first preseason poll was released this week and the Cardinals were ranked among the top 25. U of L checks in at No. 22 in the Collegiate Baseball newspaper's Fabulous 40 preseason ranking.

The Cardinals are ranked in the top 25 in at least one preseason poll for the sixth consecutive season under McDonnell.

Louisville was the only Big East school ranked in the poll. Arkansas was ranked No. 1, while North Carolina checks in at No. 2.

The poll includes seven ACC teams in the top 40.

LEADOFF DINNER SET FOR JAN. 18

The annual U of L Leadoff Dinner, sponsored by Republic Bank, will be held Friday, Jan. 18 with Cincinnati Red shortstop Zack Cozart and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher and former U of L player B.J. Rosenberg as the featured guests.

Cozart was an All-American at Mississippi where he was recruited by and played for McDonnell. He played in 138 games last season for the Reds in his first full season as the team's shortstop.

Rosenberg is from Vine Grove, Ky., and was a third-team All-Conference performer in 2008. He was a 13th round MLB Draft selection by the Phillies and made his major league debut on June 9. He played in 22 games.

The event is a big fundraiser for the baseball program and will he at the Hyatt Regency in downtown beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $50 apiece.

For information call (502) 852-0706.

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