Louisville's Drew Ellis (Aaron Fitt)


Ellis, McClure Bust Out For Cards


LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For three years, Louisville’s current junior class has been on a mission to get to Omaha. After falling short in heart-breaking super regional losses at home over each of the last two seasons, it’s only natural for the Cardinals to desperately want this postseason run to end differently. For junior stars Brendan McKay, Kade McClure, Drew Ellis, Devin Hairston, Lincoln Henzman and Colby Fitch, this June will mark the end of their collegiate careers, as all of them are almost certainly heading to pro ball this summer.

But desperately wanting something isn’t always constructive. The challenge for Dan McDonnell and his coaching staff was getting his veterans to channel their intense desire in a constructive manner — something they have struggled a bit with recently.

“Our older guys weren’t great in the regionals last weekend. Baseball’s tricky, you can want it too bad and try too hard,” McDonnell said. “So I met with those juniors this week, and (said), ‘Just play. Let’s just play the game, man. Trust your ability and don’t try to do too much.’ I’ve really enjoyed the last couple weeks because they’re really lifting each other up, they’re playing with a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm.”

Two of those juniors harnessed that energy and funneled it into standout performances in Friday’s 5-2 win against Kentucky in the opener of the Louisville Super Regional. McClure, who had allowed 10 earned runs on 11 hits and six walks over 10.1 innings in his last two starts, bounced back to throw 5.1 innings of three-hit, shutout ball, allowing just one walk while striking out six. And Ellis, who entered Friday in a 2-for-22 slump, provided the biggest swing of the game, hammering a three-run homer to left to turn a 2-0 game into a 5-0 affair in the fifth.

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