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June 10, 2014

Louisville Baseball joins the elite of the sport



Any guess which schools are the dominant powers in college baseball? If you said Miami, Florida State, Mississippi State, LSU, Texas or Southern California you would be historically right, but behind the times a little.

You may not be up to date on recent developments in the college game. While that group is responsible for 28 titles since the College World Series began in 1947, only LSU has won a title in the last eight years.

In fact, Southern California, with 11 titles, has not even been to the College World Series since 2001, and Florida State, with 21 appearances, has never won the tournament.

One thing that hasn't changed is the geographical location of the winning schools, typically warm weather locations. With the exception of Oregon State with two titles, most championship schools in the last 60 years hale from the South or West Coast with a heavy emphasis on Florida and Texas.

Two schools that have made a leap in their baseball program recently are South Carolina and North Carolina. South Carolina won the College World Series in 2010 and 2011, and UNC is the leading participant over the past eight years with five trips to Omaha. As a matter of fact, North Carolina has been to Omaha more in the last eight years than any other school.

What other schools have risen as college baseball powers in recent years?

Seven schools have been to the College World Series three times since 2007: LSU, Arizona State, Virginia, Texas, Florida State, South Carolina, Florida and Louisville.

You're reading that correctly. Louisville is now listed with the perennial powerhouse schools in college baseball.

Schools that have been twice are institutions with well-known baseball pedigrees, but all trail UofL in College World Series appearances. They include UCLA, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, TCU, UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton.

Other schools thought to be dominant such as Miami, Rice, Pepperdine and Stanford have been once or not at all.

In eight short years - much like Jeff Walz, Ken Lolla and other highly successful Cardinal coaches - Dan McDonnell has put the University of Louisville on the sports map. Cardinal baseball followed the same trend that other sports have adopted to reach the top: hire the best coach; build the best facilities; recruit the best players and play the best competition.

That formula has been used over and over to elevate Cardinal athletic teams to the apex of intercollegiate sports.



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