QUEENS, N.Y. - A school record and conference-best nine University of Louisville baseball players were honored by the BIG EAST at the annual awards banquet Monday night, including BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year Zack Pitts and BIG EAST Rookie of the Year Justin Marks.
"It is always a goal as a coaching staff to maximize a players ability and it is gratifying for these young men to be rewarded for the hard work they have put in all season long," said Cardinal first-year Head Coach Dan McDonnell.
Pitts, a junior righty from Elizabethtown, was also a member of the All BIG EAST First-Team and was joined by senior second baseman Logan Johnson and senior outfielder Boomer Whiting.
Marks was one of five Cardinals on the second team, along with junior catcher Derrick Alfonso, senior first baseman Daniel Burton, senior shortstop Chris Cates and senior outfielder Isaiah Howes.
Senior closer Trystan Magnuson was the sole member of the Cardinals named to the third team.
Spending the entire season as the ace of the pitching rotation, Pitts is 8-3 with a 1.90 ERA, working 99.1 innings and limiting opponents to a .215 average. He ranks second in the league in ERA and wins and is third in opponents average and innings. His 3.31 career ERA is the third lowest in the history of Cardinal baseball. He is a five-time member of the BIG EAST Weekly honor Roll.
Marks, a southpaw from Owensboro, is 6-2 with a 2.51 ERA in 14 starts, jumping into the weekend rotation as a freshman. He has struck out 70 in 79.0 IP and has limited opponents to a paltry .188 average. He is ranked third in the BIG EAST in ERA and is leading the conference in opponents batting average.
Johnson, who made second team in 2006 hit a BIG EAST-leading 25 doubles this season is the new single season mark in the U of L record books. Johnson led the league in doubles (25) and on base % (.504). He is second in slugging % (.711), runs (62), home runs (13), HBP (21) and total bases (145). He is in fourth in average (.377) and fifth in RBI (54).
Whiting is the most prolific base stealer in Cardinal history, more than doubling the single season record for steals, leading the nation with 64 in 74 attempts and has 103 steals in 120 attempts during his career. His 28 steals in BIG EAST games set a new conference record.
Boomer Whiting leads the nation with 64 steals
Alfonso led the BIG EAST in throwing runners out, nabbing 25 of 55(.455) in 2007 and a stunning 14 for 26(.538) in BIG EAST games. He was a third-team All-BIG EAST in 2006.
Burton batted .318 on the season with a career-best 44 RBI batting third the majority of the season.
Cates has started 218 consecutive games for the Cardinals on the middle infield, and has only missed one game in his career. He has played in 227 games, more than any other player in the history of Cardinal baseball. His 50 career sac bunts is 3rd in NCAA history and his 706 career assists is 11th in NCAA history.
Howes, from Louisville Pleasure Ridge Park High School, topped the BIG EAST during the regular season with 83 hits. He batted .388 (2nd in the BIG EAST) with 11 HR (T4th), 47 RBI (T9th), and a .645 slugging % (4th).
Magnuson, a Louisville Manual graduate has worked 17.0 consecutive scoreless innings over his last 10 outings, allowing seven hits and three walks, while striking out 12 and picking up five saves in as many opportunities. He has the second-lowest career ERA in school history (3.13) and his 0.81 ERA this season currently rates as the second-best in the history of the Red and Black. Magnuson tossed 23.1 IP before allowing an earned run this season. He is 8 of 9 in save situations.
Louisville (38-18, 19-8 BIG EAST) is the three-seed in the eight-team double elimination tournament and will face sixth-seeded Villanova Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. in the first game of the tournament. The Wildcats (28-23, 12-15 BIG EAST) lost two of three to the Cardinals in Pennsylvania to open the conference slate. It will mark the first trip to the BIG EAST Championship since 1997 for Villanova.
St. John's drew the top seed in the eight-team double elimination championship and will face UConn in the 8:00 game Tuesday, while runner-up Rutgers will share the Cardinals half of the bracket and face seven seed Notre Dame at 1:00 p.m.. Fourth seed Pitt will meet #5 seed USF in the 5:00 p.m. game at Keyspan Park, the home to the New York Mets New York-Penn League representative.
All of the Cardinals postseason games will be broadcast in Louisville on WAVG 1450 AM.