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College | Story | 2/9/2012

Top 100 countdown: 21-40

Kendall Rogers     

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21. Louisville
26. Clemson
31. Mississippi State
36. Fla. International
22. East Carolina
27. Central Florida
32. California
37. Coll. of Charleston
23. Georgia
28. St. John's
33. Purdue
38. Jacksonville
24. Oklahoma
29. Baylor
34. Georgia Southern
39. Missouri State
25. Virginia
30. UC Irvine
35. Mississippi
40. Oklahoma State

NOTE: Check out FULL team breakdowns below

21. Louisville
2011 record: 32-29 overall, 14-13 Big East
Key returnees
: 1B Stewart Ijames (.247/11/45), 3B Ryan Seiz (.234/2/16), SS Alex Chittenden (.233/0/16), RHP Jeff Thompson (2-1, 2.75), RHP Justin Amlung (10-2, 2.31), RHP Matt Koch (5-5, 3.48), RHP Derek Self (3-3, 2.26), RHP Travis Tingle (3-1, 2.60)
The skinny: The Cardinals have been a mainstay in the NCAA postseason the past few years, but that changed last season when they failed to make the field of 64. As a result, look for the Cards to be extra motivated this season. That could be bad news for opposing teams. The Cardinals must greatly improve at the plate after hitting .253 last season, but veteran power hitter Stewart Ijames is ready to be more consistent, while Ryan Seiz, Alex Chittenden and Adam Engel each made significant improvements in the fall … Pitching-wise, the Cardinals couldn’t be more loaded. They welcome back an excellent weekend rotation with Justin Amlung and rising prospect Jeff Thompson leading the charge. Meanwhile, the bullpen is strong with hard-throwing Matt Koch, who tops out at 96 with his fastball, leading the charge, while Nick Burdi is one to watch after he was 94-96 with his fastball during fall workouts.
Expectation level:
Dan McDonnell and the Louisville coaching staff really have done a nice job over the past few seasons. Now, after missing the NCAA postseason, we’ll see what kind of magic they have in the tank. The Cards are a no brainer NCAA tournament team with an improved offensive lineup and excellent pitching staff.

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