Louisville junior lefthander Drew Harrington, a former Central Hardin standout, was named the Atlantic Coast Conference’s pitcher of the year, and Dan McDonnell received his second straight ACC Coach of the Year award as the Cardinals led the way Monday with nine All-ACC honorees.
Harrington is the sixth Louisville player in the last 10 seasons to earn conference pitcher of the year honors as the Cardinals claimed two of the ACC’s four major awards for the second consecutive season.
The Cardinals also had five All-ACC first team selections for the second straight year as Harrington was joined by junior relief pitcher Zack Burdi, junior outfielder Corey Ray and sophomore two-way standout Brendan McKay, who was named to the first team as both a starting pitcher and designated hitter/utility player.
Junior second baseman Nick Solak was tabbed as a second-team honoree, while junior catcher Will Smith (Kentucky Country Day), sophomore shortstop Devin Hairston (Tates Creek) and sophomore third baseman Blake Tiberi (Covington Holy Cross) received third-team accolades. Additionally, infielder Devin Mann was named to the ACC All-Freshman team.
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Harrington helped guide Louisville to a second straight ACC Atlantic Division crown with an 11-1 record in 14 starts. He ranks third in the conference with a 1.66 ERA and has 71 strikeouts with just 22 walks in 92 innings pitched. In his 10 ACC starts this season, Harrington was 8-0 with a 1.33 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 67.2 innings pitched.
In his 10th season at Louisville, McDonnell was again voted ACC Coach of the Year by his peers after guiding the Cardinals to a 46-10 overall regular season mark, a 22-8 record in ACC play and a top-five national ranking. Louisville brings a nine-game winning streak into the ACC Championship.
Named as an All-ACC first-team selection for the second straight season, Burdi ranks third in the conference in saves with 10 and has 42 strikeouts with just seven walks in 25 innings and 23 appearances. The righthander has a 2.16 ERA and a 1-2 record this season while pitching at and above 100 mph in his recent outings.
Another two-time All-ACC first-team selection, Ray leads the ACC in stolen bases with 37 (in 44 attempts), ranks third in home runs with 14 and fourth in RBI with 57 while also hitting .326 with 16 double and 50 runs scored. Among the top MLB prospects in 2016, Ray has started all 56 games this season playing all three outfield positions while hitting at the top of the order for the Cardinals.
Named as the nation’s top two-way player a season ago, McKay has performed at even higher level this season, closing the regular season with an 11-2 record, 1.99 ERA and 105 strikeouts 90 2/3 innings pitched and 14 starts on the mound. At the plate, this back-to-back All-ACC first-team member hit .338 with four home runs, 37 RBI, 19 doubles and 38 runs scored.
Solak received his first All-ACC honor by batting .390 with three home runs, 23 RBI, 13 doubles, 45 runs scored and nine stolen bases in 37 starts. Hitting in the middle of the Louisville lineup in each of the last two seasons, Solak earned second-team honors despite missing four weeks of action with a hand injury.
Each of Louisville’s three third-team selections are first-time All-ACC honorees, including Smith, who hit .369 with five home runs, 35 RBI and 36 runs scored in 39 starts behind the plate. Serving as the Cardinals’ primary catcher in back-to-back seasons, Smith has thrown out 11 of 25 baserunners this season.
Hairston started all 56 regular season games at shortstop. He hit for a .368 average with three home runs, 44 RBI, 13 doubles and 50 runs scored. The defensive star also leads the Cardinals with 27 multiple-hit games and enters the postseason on an 11-game hitting streak.
In his first season as an everyday player for Louisville, Tiberi hit .341 with seven home runs, 43 RBI, 16 doubles and scored 40 runs while starting all 56 games. Tiberi has registered 25 multiple-hit games this season and has just 18 strikeouts in 214 at-bats.
In his first collegiate season, Mann was thrust into the starting role at second base with the injury to Solak in late March and the rookie was up to the challenge, closing the regular season with a .310 batting average, nine doubles, 17 RBI and 15 runs scored. Overall, Mann made 19 starts while appearing in 37 games.
The No. 2-seeded Cardinals will open the ACC Championship against either No. 7 Duke or No. 10 Wake Forest at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in North Carolina. Louisville will continue its Pool B schedule against No. 6 Clemson at 11 a.m. Friday, and No. 3 Virginia at 7 p.m. Saturday.