College-World-Series
Louisville Bows Out of College World Series against Oregon State 11-4

The University of Louisville’s 2nd trip in school history to Omaha ended the same way as the 1st trip to the College World Series.  With double elimination in two games.  This time the Cards were snake bit with a myriad of uncharacteristic plays in the field in the 3rd & 4th innings that collectively allowed 10 runs against the #3 Oregon State Beavers.

Louisville ACE and Big East Pitcher of the Year Jeff Thompson started strong, though he wasn’t his best Monday for the Cards.  Still Thompson’s effort should have been good enough to avert major damage.  In the 3rd Orgeon State’s Max Gordon stuck his elbow out and granted himself first base, and Tyler Smith sent a rocket ship down the left field line for a double which scored Gordon.  Smith’s double was misplayed by Cardinal left-fielder CoCo Johnson, allowing Gordon to score.  A SAC bunt turned single by Andy Peterson was well placed and instead of having a runner on 3rd with ONE OUT, the Cards found themselves with runners on the corners and none gone.  Throw in a misplayed foul ball by catcher Kyle Gibson to miss another chance for an out against Beaver slugger Michael Conforto, followed by a walk of Conforto to load the bases and it’s actually surprising that the Cards gave up just 3 runs in the 3rd. But it didn’t stop there…….the Cards actually could have gotten out with less damage if not for an ill-advised double play try by Zach Lucas’ who backhanded the ball past shortstop Sutton Whiting allowing a bases loaded groundout with just one run scoring, to turn into a no out two-run score.

The 4th inning, however, was the real stinker. With no other way to describe the 7-run 4th inning the Cards actually allowed 7 runs WITH TWO OUTS!!!!  However, an errant umpire call extended the inning when the Cards could have gotten out of the inning allowing zero runs.  Dylan Davis singled to Jeff Thompson, whose throw to Wasserman clearly beat the runner on replay, extending the inning and scoring two runs in the process while the Cards gasped at the abhorrent call.  Still, rather than collecting themselves following the human error element of baseball the Cards had a mental implosion and didn’t look like the Cards we had seen all season.

With Cody Ege replacing Thompson, Ege walked his 1st batter, loading the bases again.  On a routine groundball to shortstop Sutton Whiting, Whiting sailed the ball over 6’6″ Zak Wasserman scoring an additional two runs.  After Cody Ege hit the next batter, he was replaced by Kyle Funkhouser.  Funkhouser did his part to contribute to this epic inning for the Beavers by walking the 1st batter with the bases loaded, scoring another.  Mercifully the inning ended with a flyout to center, but not before Max Gordon could single for 2 RBIs growing the 4th inning total to 7 innings.

Above, that account of the events of the 3rd & 4th inning………that’s not Cardinal Baseball.  That’s not what Dan McDonnell teaches, that’s not what this team has been about all season.  The Cardinal Baseball team I saw all year BATTLED.  They were fundamentally sound, they played precise baseball.  Cardinal baseball was Nick Ratajczak going to the plate in the 8th despite an injury, Cardinal baseball is Matt Helms REFUSING to be the final out of the season.  It is unfortunate that this team ended their season this way……..but there are lessons to be learned.

First, this Louisville team and program took a MAJOR step forward in 2013.  Last year, while losing to Arizona the Wildcats might as well have been the New York Yankees.  It didn’t seem like the Cards had what it took to crack the eventual National Champions.  However, in 2013 Louisville Baseball took on and BEAT Vanderbilt on their home field in sweeping fashion to earn their trip to Omaha.  That Vanderbilt team was #2 in the country and considered by many to be the best team in College Baseball.  Not to mention the game against Oregon State, despite the score, was winnable if the Cards had their usual fielding performance (Beavers scored 7 runs after what should have been 3rd out…..Cards lost by 7).

Second, playoff baseball is regular baseball.  Big East Tournament aside the Cards looked good in the NCAA Tournament.  When UofL played loose good things happened, the Cards didn’t face elimination in the tournament until Monday running through the Regional & Super Regional.  Coaches may use different rotations in the post-season but baseball is baseball.  Just play focus on your job and don’t press.

Third, let one play be one play. Against Oregon State the Cards began playing as if one mistake was going to cost them an opportunity to win and advance.  So one mistake became two, two mistakes became three and then the Cards saw 10 runs in two innings.  You can’t win a baseball game with one play in the field and you can’t lose one either….especially in the 3rd & 4th innings.  Trust your teammates to do their jobs and play fundamental baseball in inning #1 to inning #9.

Finally, learn from experience.  Next year when the Cards go to Omaha (I feel strongly that they will have this chance again) I hope the Cards can focus more on their game, the scouting report, their job, it’s just baseball.  Sure it is Omaha, but you’ve been there now.  You’ve seen key pieces of the puzzle get injured, you’ve seen your team win despite your best hitter slumping, you’ve seen what can happen when you compound errors, and you know what can happen when you just play the game.

Louisville Baseball moving forward is in fantastic position.  They have the right man, the right kids, great facilities, outstanding recruiting and now a little more seasoning. The program who hadn’t been to the College World Series EVER now has been twice since 2007………and it has us wanting more.

Louisville Falls in Opening Game of College World Series 2-0 to Indiana

Indiana’s Joey DeNato pitched a 4-hit complete game against the Louisville Cardinals at TD Ameritrade Park.  DeNato went the distance despite a high pitch count, and continually frustrated Louisville batters.  Still a few base running gaffes cost the Cards opportunities to score.  Chad Green struggled to find his spots and allowed 2 early runs that would be the difference.  Cody Ege came in for relief and shut down the Hoosiers, but the Cardinal bats couldn’t touch DeNato, thanks to chasing a lot of balls out of the zone and the Hoosiers advanced in the winner’s bracket.

UofL will now have to face #3 Oregon State who fell to Mississippi St.  The Beavers and Cards will play Monday at 3:00 EST on ESPN2 in an elimination game.  All games will be elimination unless the Cards can find themselves in the championship series which begins a week from Monday.

POST-GAME VIDEOS

 

OmahaBirds
LOUISVILLE ADVANCES TO COLLEGE WORLD SERIES!!!!

The University of Louisville Men’s Baseball program advanced to the College World Series for the 2nd time in school history on Sunday.  The Cardinals SWEPT a highly regarded Vanderbilt group on their home field, a program that has been a constant thorn  in the side of UofL baseball.  Louisville won a 2-1 decision on the shoulder’s of Ace pitcher Jeff Thompson, Thompson was a WARRIOR on the mound for the Cards throwing 124 pitches in 7.0 innings, allowing just 3 hits, and 1 run (homerun) to the Commodores.

The Cards got both of their runs in the 2nd inning against Vandy ACE Tyler Beede, who only survived 2.2 innings.  Beede was unusually wild Sunday, and actually hit CoCo Johnson in his helmet in the 2nd inning, and then walked Designated Hitter Jeff Gardner.  Zak Wasserman continued his hot play with an RBI single that scored Gardner. Later in the inning an unnecessarily hard “punch tag” by Vanderbilt Shortstop Vince Conde on Louisville helped spark a Sutton Whiting single that would score Gibson and give the Cards a 2-0 lead.  A questionable call at 3rd Base where Xavier Turner appeared to lose the ball ended the inning when Zak Wasserman was called out.

Still, the damage was done and Thompson was almost untouchable on the day against one of the most professional ready collegiate ball clubs in the country.  Thompson was drafted in this week’s Major League Baseball draft by the Detroit Tigers in the 3rd Round with the 94th pick. Thompson was replaced at the start of the 8th by Sophomore lefty Joe Filomeno, who retired two batters but also allowed two base runners (HBP & BB) before leaving with an apparent injury.  Filomeno has fought back from elbow surgery and was nasty against Oklahoma State to win last week’s Louisville regional and was emotional while leaving the mound.  Filomeno had some animated words of encouragement for Kyle Funkhouser and was greeted in the dugout by almost every teammate before finding himself in a very emotional embrace with Jeff Thompson.

When Kyle Funkhouser got the Cards out of the jam with a Vince Conde groundout, Filomeno exploded with emotion.  That scene in the 8th inning is what college athletics is all about. TEAM.  LOVE. Baseball. In the end, Nick Burdi and Cody Ege would combine to close out the game for the Cards and send the program to Omaha for the 2nd time in school history.

The Cards will now face the Indiana Hoosiers in a Best of 3 Game Format.  The times are not yet set, but the CWS begins on Saturday, June 15th at 2:00 p.m. UofL & IU met 3 times during the season with the Hoosiers winning the first two match-ups (neutral & away) before the Cards won the 3rd and final meeting of the regular season (home).

Before the College World Series berth, the University of Louisville athletics season has been nothing short of incredible.  Headed to Omaha, I have to think that this Cardinal team is not satisfied just arriving at the College World Series.  With the way this year has been, and the team Dan McDonnell has they may just win the whole thing.  Buckle up.

(PHOTO BY @UofLBirdsNest, VIDEOS via Jody Demling & Howie Lindsey)

 

PowerPoint Presentation
Cards Win Game 1, Try to Advance to Omaha on Sunday

The University of Louisville Baseball program won a rousing Game 1 at Hawkins Field against the Vanderbilt Commodores 5-3.  The Cards were in some tough innings against left-handed starter Kevin Ziomek, continuing the Cards difficulty with left-handed pitching.  But like in the Miami game, eventually the Cards found a way to produce runs. The 7th inning was extra productive for the Cards when 1st baseman Zak Wasserman drove in his second RBI of the day, and then a clutch pinch hit at-bat by Senior Matt Helms drove in Sutton Whiting and Mike White.

UofL was productive on the day, scoring 5 runs in 6 hits and really capitalized on free bases, 4 hit by pitch and 3 bases on balls produced much needed base runners for the Cards.  But the Cardinals also benefited from some gritty pitching.  Chad Green started for the Cards and gave 5 strong innings while allowing 2 runs on 6 hits. Green was replaced by Dace Kime, a usual starter, who went just 1.1 innings (17 pitches) and retired all 4 batters.  Cody Ege had an unearned run go on his ledger, and made things interesting with two walks but also did not overwork, throwing just 26 pitches.  Nick Burdi, however, did throw quite a few balls to the plate as he was working out of a jam and walked two of his own.

Big East Pitcher of the Year Jeff Thompson will start for the Cards on Sunday as the Cards attempt to make their 2nd ever appearance in Omaha at the College World Series. Despite the win there were plenty of areas to improve for the Cards. 1st batter base hits, allowing 6 stolen bases, 6 walks, a fielding error that allowed a run, while CoCo Johnson, Ty Young, and Cole Sturgeon all went hitless in the win.

Louisville will also wear specialty unifroms made be Adidas for Sunday’s game.

From UofL SID

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Senior pinch hitter Matt Helms delivered a two-out, two-run single to cap a three-run seventh inning and lift the eighth-ranked Louisville baseball team to a 5-3 comeback win over No. 2 national seed Vanderbilt on Saturday afternoon in game one of the NCAA Super Regional at Hawkins Field.

The Cardinals (50-12) moved within one win of advancing to the College World Series for the second time in school history, while the Commodores (54-11) will need to win each of the final two games of the best-of-three series, which continues on Sunday at 4 p.m., ET on ESPN.

“Our guys battled and fought hard,” said Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell. “Fortunately, we were able to put up a crooked number there in the seventh (inning). We showed our depth today.”

After the Cardinals had scored once in the seventh to even the score at 2-2, Helms (Eufaula, Okla./Seminole State CC) connected on a 1-2 pitch from Vanderbilt righty closer Brian Miller sending it through the left side of the infield to score sophomore pinch runner Mike White (East Orange, N.J./Salisbury HS) and sophomore shortstop Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa./Louisville Ballard HS). For Helms, it was just his fourth and fifth RBIs of the season and the first since March 1 against Kent State. At the plate, he lifted his average to .268 (11-of-41) on the season.

Louisville opened the scoring in the three-run seventh inning when senior first baseman Zak Wasserman (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore HS) sent a 2-1 pitch from Vanderbilt lefty starter Kevin Ziomek through the left side of the infield to score junior designated hitter Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy). The inning started with a leadoff single to right by Gardner, who later moved to second on a groundout by junior outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS).

No Louisville player had more than one hit as the Cardinals won despite being out-hit 7-6. Wasserman was 1-for-2 with two RBI, while Gardner finished 1-for-3 with two runs scored. Junior catcher Shane Crain (Lexington, Ky./Wabash Valley CC) chipped in with a single and a RBI, while Whiting added a hit to go with his run scored.

On the mound, four Cardinals combined to limit the Commodores as junior righty Dace Kime (Defiance, Ohio/Defiance HS) pitched 1.1 innings of shutout relief with two strikeouts to earn the victory and improve to 6-1 on the season. After junior lefty Cody Ege (Cherokee, Iowa/Washington HS) allowed only an unearned run in one inning of relief, sophomore righthanded closer Nick Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South HS) recorded the final five outs of the game in shutout fashion to earn his 16th save of the season. In the starting role, junior righty Chad Green (Effingham, Ill./Effingham HS) allowed two runs on six hits in five solid innings while finishing with a no-decision.

The Commodores struck first in Saturday’s opener when first baseman Conrad Gregor connected for a two-strike, two-out RBI single through the right side just out of the reach of a diving Nick Ratacjzak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC) at second to plate third baseman Xavier Turner. The Cardinals answered in the top of the second when Wasserman delivered a RBI sacrifice fly to deep centerfield to score Gardner and even the score at 1-1.

Vanderbilt moved back ahead in the third inning when outfielder Connor Harrell sent a 1-0 pitch from Green into left field to score Turner for the 2-1 advantage. The score remained there through the middle innings as Green and Ziomek controlled the action.

After Louisville had gained its first lead of the day, the Cardinals increased their cushion to 5-2 an inning later when junior outfielder Coco Johnson (Benton Harbor, Mich./Central Arizona) scored on a RBI sacrifice fly to deep right field by Crain. The Commodores cut the margin to 5-3 in the bottom of the eighth with an unearned run and they threatened for more in the ninth loading the bases with two outs against Burdi. However, the Louisville closer got Harrell to ground into a game-ending fielder’s choice and clinch the victory.

Ziomek suffered just his third loss of the season and dropped to 11-3 overall after allowing four runs, all earned, on five hits with four strikeouts and two walks in 6.2 innings. Turner had two hits and scored twice to lead the Commodores’ offense.

Fans can follow Louisville baseball on Twitter at http://twitter.com/uoflbaseball and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ulbaseball.

Postgame Louisville Notes

- With the win, Louisville won its 50th game of the season matching the school record first set during the 2010 season.

- The Cardinals won for the first time in school history at Vanderbilt ending a 13-game losing skid to the Commodores in Nashville.

-  Louisville improved to 4-0 in NCAA Championship games in 2013 and 18-15 all-time in the NCAA Championship.

- The Cardinals moved to 3-3 overall in NCAA Super Regional games.

- UofL improved to 17-6 this season against lefty starters.

- The Cardinals are now 45-0 when leading after eight innings.

- Louisville was out-hit for just the 16th time this season and improved to 9-7 overall in those games.

- Entering the weekend ranked fourth in the nation in HBPs, the Cardinals were hit four times on Saturday increasing their school record total to 124.

- The four runs for Louisville against VU starter Kevin Ziomek matched the most he has allowed this season.

- The Cardinals earned their 16th comeback win of the season.

- With his 16th save, Nick Burdi moved within one of tying the single season school record for saves of 17 set by Neil Holland in 2010.

- Coco Johnson was hit by a pitch for the 21st time this season moving him into a tie for fourth on the Cardinals’ single season leaderboard.

- Pitcher Cody Ege made his 35th appearance of the season on the mound moving him within two of the school record of 37 set by Trystan Magnuson in 2007.

 

PowerPoint Presentation
adidas Unveils New Louisville Baseball Uniforms

Cardinals will wear retro-inspired uniforms in game two of Nashville Super Regional on Sunday

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - adidas unveiled on Saturday afternoon the new CLIMALITE Sweet Spot uniforms the eighth-ranked Louisville baseball team will debut during this weekend’s NCAA Super Regional at Vanderbilt.

The Cardinals (49-12) will wear the uniforms in game two of the Nashville Super Regional on Sunday at 4 p.m., ET in a nationally televised matchup on ESPN. A retro-inspired uniform similar to a design worn by Louisville in the 1970’s, the 2013 design features the latest adidas uniform technologies to make the Cardinals faster, lighter and cooler on the diamond.

 

The jersey and pants include CLIMALITE material coupled with dye-sub technology, creating a superior lightweight uniform system with unrivaled moisture transport and durability.

For more info and images of Louisville’s new adidas baseball uniforms, check out www.Facebook.com/adidasBaseball and follow the conversation on Twitter via @adidasUS and #teamadidas

Fans can follow Louisville baseball on Twitter at http://twitter.com/uoflbaseball and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ulbaseball.

 

ACC
Louisville Football 2014 Schedule Shapes Up

LOUISVILLE—The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) has announced Louisville’s rotating crossover football opponents for the 2014-24 seasons.

The Cardinals will play eight ACC games each season. Six of those contests will be against Atlantic Division opponents (Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, NC State, Syracuse and Wake Forest) and two versus Coastal Division teams. Louisville’s permanent Coastal Division opponent is slated to be Virginia. The other six Coastal teams will rotate through the Cardinals’ schedule.

The ACC is planning for Louisville’s arrival with the following opponents listed below.

2014: Miami
2015: at Pittsburgh
2016: Duke
2017: at North Carolina
2018: Georgia Tech
2019: at Miami
2020: Virginia Tech
2021: at Duke
2022: Pittsburgh
2023: at Georgia Tech
2024: North Carolina

Right now Louisville’s 2014 schedule is as follows:

Kentucky (Home)
Florida International (Home)
Marshall (Away)
Notre Dame (Away)

Miami (Home)
Florida State (Home)
NC State (Home)
Wake Forest (Home)
Virginia (Away)
Boston College (Away)
Clemson (Away)
Syracuse (Away)