Seniors Jeff Gardner and Cole Sturgeon have been selected as captains for the 2014 University of Louisville baseball team, head coach Dan McDonnell announced on Monday.
Both Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy) and Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) are three-year members of the Cardinals’ baseball program and both are two-time all-conference honorees. The pair closed Louisville’s 2013 College World Series season as the team’s top two hitters in average and they have combined for more than 260 starts during the last three years.
“It’s exciting how much talent we have in our baseball program right now, but it’s a combination of both experienced and young talent,” McDonnell said. “It’s crucial that we go into the fall having established two of our primary leaders who will set the tone and lead our young players while also pushing other leaders in the program to step up. Cole and Jeff have done it the right way, on and off the field, for three years and they’ve earned this role.”
A First Team All-BIG EAST designated hitter and one of the Cardinals’ three captains in 2013, Gardner (outfielder/catcher) hit .337 last season while leading the team with nine home runs, 15 doubles and a .632 slugging percentage to go with 43 RBI. As a sophomore in 2012, Gardner was a Second Team All-BIG EAST honoree after hitting .299 with two home runs, 34 RBI, 35 runs scored, nine doubles and two triples. As a freshman, he was named to the 2011 All-BIG EAST Tournament Team after he hit .333 with a home run, five RBI and five runs scored in five games. Overall, Gardner has 114 career starts and has played in 153 games in three seasons as a Cardinal.
A Third Team All-BIG EAST outfielder in 2013, Sturgeon led the Cardinals in hitting with a .339 average to go along with one home run, 33 RBI, nine doubles, 21 walks, 11 HBPs and 13 stolen bases in 18 attempts. On the mound last season, the lefty had a 2.08 ERA with one save and 16 strikeouts in 14 relief appearances and 13.0 innings pitched. In 2012, Sturgeon hit .321 with one home run, 45 RBI, 42 runs scored, 11 doubles and five triples and was a Second Team All-BIG EAST selection. For his three-year career with the Cardinals, Sturgeon has 150 starts while playing in 166 games overall.
Last season, the Louisville baseball team had another record-setting season advancing to the College World Series for the second time while winning a school record 51 games and earning the program’s fourth BIG EAST Conference title in five years. Following the summer break from classes, the Cardinals will return to campus for the fall semester in late August to continue preparations for the 2014 college baseball season.
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