As the University of Louisville closes out the regular season this weekend, it will mark the final home games - pending the hosting of a Regional - for four year senior Zak Wasserman.
The Stevensville (Mich.) Lakeshore product came to Louisville following a stellar prep career that saw him earn All-State, All-Conference and All-Region honors. During the past four seasons at U of L, Wasserman developed into the Cardinals regular first baseman. He's experienced winning the Big East regular season title and the excitement of playing for a host team in a Regional.
"Zak is the only guy that has been here four years," said Cardinals head coach Dan McDonnell. "Zak was here for the 88 home runs and 50 wins season and then the game changed right in front of his eyes. He's a great leader, he's a great teammate and a great captain."
"Being a Cardinal has been absolutely incredible," he told Cardinal Authority. "These past four years have been more fun than I could ever imagine. I played with a lot of great players and I've really enjoyed my time here. I have learned a lot these past few years."
As a captain for the 2013 team, Wasserman has become a mentor for the younger members of the squad.
"I've played with some great players, including some of the All-Americans on the [outfield] wall and I learned a lot from them," he said. "My goal is that by the time I leave I have felt the younger guys be ready. You want to kind of take them under your arm and teach them the way we do things here. It's exciting to see younger ball players mold into good players that you've helped by giving them little tidbits here and there."
With the postseason looming, a couple goals are still attainable for Wasserman. Winning the Big East Conference tournament and playing at Patterson Stadium for a Regional are both strong possibilities for the Cardinals.
"Zak has never won a conference tournament," said McDonnell. "He's won the Big East regular season and had success, but Zak is a guy you want to send out with a conference championship and hopefully that will happen in the tournament."
Wasserman hopes to experience hosting a Regional one more time before leaving Louisville, but unlike his freshman year, he wants to continue further into the NCAA tournament.
"I started off as a freshman and we held a Regional here," he said. "We had Vanderbilt, Illinois State and Saint Louis as the teams here. It was a little bittersweet because we ended there, so I would really love to have another Regional here as a senior. That would be awesome."
Winners of 13 straight, the 10th-ranked Cardinals will host Pittsburgh this weekend for the conference regular season crown.
"We are playing some really good baseball," said Wasserman. "Defensively, we are doing a good job of not having very many errors and we are making our routine plays. At the plate, we are hitting and being competitive, so we are doing the right things to get some wins right now."