University of Louisville press release:
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville baseball team had a slew of student-athletes recognized Monday when announcing the Atlantic Coast Conference postseason awards.
Levi Usher won the conference Defensive Player of the Year award and was one of eight Cardinals named to conference teams. Louisville leads all programs with all eight selections and is the most for the Cards since also getting eight in 2017.
Usher, Jared Poland, Michael Prosecky and Dalton Rushing were all second team selections. Christian Knapczyk, Cameron Masterman, Ben Metzinger and Jack Payton have each been named to the third team. Logan Beard was also voted to the ACC All-Freshman team.
Usher is the second Louisville player to win the Defensive Player of the Year award, joining Devin Hairston who won the first-ever ACC DPOY honor in 2017. The eldest has proven to be one of baseball’s top centers. college this spring, creating a full reel of elite defensive plays culminating in winning SportsCenter’s No. 1 game for its home steal against Clemson on April 30.
In addition to his defensive prowess, Usher leads the conference in stolen bases with 33 this season. He hit .279 in the regular season with 13 doubles, three triples, six home runs and 40 RBIs.
Poland was the leader in Louisville’s pitching staff and among the best in the ACC in 2022. The right-hander is 5-3 overall and ranks fourth in the ACC in strikeouts and fifth in the ERA. Poland has four double-digit batting runs this season and has five starts of at least six innings with one or zero runs allowed.
Prosecky stepped into the narrower role for the Cardinals this spring and has excelled. In 22 appearances this season, Prosecky is 2-0 with a 2.90 ERA and is second in the ACC with 10 saves. He proved to be a multi-inning weapon out of the bullpen, with six of his 10 saves requiring more than three outs.
In his first season as a full-time starter, Rushing was a rock in the middle of Louisville’s batting order. The junior closed the regular season with an average of .303, a team-high 19 home runs and 55 RBIs. Rushing finished the season strong, homering in seven of the last 10 games and is one long shot away from becoming Louisville’s first player with 20 homers since 2017.
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Knapczyk was the spark that carried Louisville’s offense through the first 46 games of the season, hitting .335 with 10 doubles, four triples and a pair of homers. Despite missing the final nine games of the year, Knapczyk led the Cardinals and finished fourth in the ACC with 64 points scored. This is the second All-ACC selection for the shortstop, who also earned third-team honors in 2021.
Masterman had the best season of his five-year career at Louisville this spring. The Prospect, Kentucky native hit .289 with 11 doubles, 14 home runs and 52 RBIs, hitting career highs in nearly every statistical category.
Metzinger also had a career year, shaking off an injury-riddled 2021 and turning in an All-Conference performance in 2022. Metzinger hit .304 during the regular season as the only Louisville player to start all 55 games. The senior had 11 doubles, 17 home runs and led the Cards with 61 RBIs this year.
After seeing limited time as a rookie, Payton exploded onto the scene for the Cardinals in his second season. Payton led Louisville with a .355 average and 77 hits during the regular season. He also had a team-best 20 doubles, becoming the first Cardinal to reach 20 doubles since Logan Wyatt in 2018.
Beard had a terrific regular season in his first college action after sitting out in 2021. He started all but two games and posted a .319 batting average with 11 doubles, four home runs and 48 RBIs. Beard boasts 20 multi-hit contests throughout the regular season.
The Cardinals won their fifth ACC Atlantic Division Championship in their seventh full season as conference members and are the second seed in this week’s ACC Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina. Louisville will play 11andPitt, seeded Wednesday, and Georgia Tech, seeded seventh, Thursday, in pool. Both games are scheduled for 11 a.m. ET at Truist Field.
(Photo via Jared Anderson – Louisville State)
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