The No. 2 Louisville Cardinals defeated the No. 8 Kentucky Wildcats Tuesday night at Jim Patterson Stadium. After a school record crowd in attendance, Coach Dan McDonnell hopes that his players’ victory over their arch-rivals inspires fans to come back for future match-ups.
“Basketball just ended and fans get a chance to come out,” said McDonnell. “The weather’s nice. So this is a good eye-opener for those who haven’t been out to go wild. This is a fun team to watch and it’s a beautiful ballpark. Now you get some ACC opponents coming in here. You got Wake Forest, you got Duke, you got Florida State, then you got Vanderbilt in a midweek game, and Purdue. If you build it, they will come. They’ve been coming. We had over 3,000 for the Cancer Awareness Game last week and it means a lot. It means everything when all these fans come out. It’s a lot of fun.”
Junior shortstop and Lexington, Ky., native Devin Hairston always excels against the Wildcats. This time, he was stellar at bat with three hits and and two RBI. McDonnell is confident that Hairston and his other players can continue to play at this caliber throughout the season.
“I’m seeing Devin do it against Virginia. I’m seeing him do it against everybody,” said McDonnell. “So I see him all the time for those people who don’t get to see him. He’s a superstar. Like I’ve been saying about McKay, hopefully the fans take advantage of Ellis and Hairston. There’s a lot of great players on the field tonight. So, I hope the fans take advantage of that.”
McDonnell encourages his players to enjoy living in the present. But he is looking forward to the match-ups in the near future.
“I said if we played a hundred times, we would probably win 50 and they would win 50. You’re just in a stretch right now where we’ve gotten the best of them. We try to live in the moment. 'Be where your feet are' is one of our staple phrases. It doesn’t matter what happened last year, it doesn’t matter what happens tonight. We play there in a couple weeks and throw this game out the window. It means nothing in two weeks.”
Louisville’s next contest is a home series against No. 17 Wake Forest, starting Friday at 6 p.m.