The Bluegrass has a world champion baseball player in the form of UofL closer Tony Zych. Zych and his teammates on the Collegiate USA National Team won the 2009 World Baseball Challenge Sunday with a 8-1 victory over Germany. UofL head coach Dan McDonnell served as the first-base coach for Team USA.
Team USA finished the summer with a 19-5 record, winning its last five games to clinch the title. Zych didn’t appear in the championship game but had an ERA of 2.91 with 17 strikeouts in 15.2 innings during the summer. Zych, a freshman, pitched out of the pen for most of 2009 for the Cardinals before moving to the rotation in his final three appearances. He won each of his three starts including six strong innings in UofL’s NCAA Regional Championship win over Vanderbilt.
I saw Zych pitch in one of his two losses during the 2009 season. He was Louisville’s closer at the time and blew a save in the state rivalry against Kentucky at home. At the time Zych was 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA. He surrendered two runs in that game, but he obviously had as much talent as anyone on the Louisville roster. UK coach Gary Henderson was generous in his praise of the UofL reliever.
“Your kids get confidence that they did it against Louisville’s best guy,” Henderson said.
You can find full coverage of Team USA’s win at the team’s home page.