Cards Survive Rain & Auburn, 5-3, Advance

A win is a win is a . . . you know . . . win.

Louisville, 41-1 when leading after six, 42-0 when leading after seven, hung on despite itself to eliminate Auburn’s Tigers from the CWS, and live for the proverbial another day.

The Cards will meet the vanquished of Mississippi State/ Vanderbilt Thursday evening.

U of L, with a 4-1 lead, endured a 20:07 rain delay before action resumed in the top of the 5th at 11:00 AM Omaha time Wednesday. In front of a “crowd” at first pitch you could count on fingers and toes, both the Cardinals and Tigers sleep walked through 2 1/2 innings before any energy sparked.

Given how well Adam Elliott was pitching, Dan McDonnell yet again made one of his patented curious post season pitching decisions, bringing in ace reliever Michael McAvene to hurl the top of the 7th. The Cards closer certainly needed to knock off some rust. Following his suspension during the regional, two laughers over East Carolina when he wasn’t needed and a DNP in the CWS opening L to Vandy, he hadn’t taken the mound since June 2.

But Elliott was on, and surely could have gone another inning at least. Continue reading Cards Survive Rain & Auburn, 5-3, Advance

Cards fall 3-1 in CWS Opener

The College World Series draw can be a cruel mistress.

Win the opener and the possibilities for success multiply. Drop the first one, and matters get dire.

In an opener, which is the only one to feature two national seeds, between college baseball’s winningest squads this decade, Vandy the higher-seeded favorite, in this game and to win the title, prevailed. 3-1.

Louisville will face the Auburn/ Mississippi loser Tuesday afternoon. Defeated departs. Winner gets life, but will still have to win three more in a row to advance to the title 2 of 3.

While falling to the Commodores doesn’t feel good, it’s no disgrace. U of L’s very familiar regional rival was ranked either #1 or #2 in all the pre-season polls. Vanderbilt finished #2 in all the polls, behind UCLA, which was swept in its Supers by the surging Michigan Wolverines.

Vandy’s ascendency into the sport’s upper echelon pretty much parallels U of L’s. But the Nashvillians have fared significantly better in their four CWS appearances than U of L’s now 2-9 record in five. They won it all in ’14, winning the opener against U of L, and were runners up the following season. Vandy’s harvested the highest rated recruiting class four of the last five seasons. Continue reading Cards fall 3-1 in CWS Opener

Louisville Rampages Way to Omaha, 12-0

Louisville 12, East Carolina 0.

It is at somewhat incomprehensible moments like this, that the writer’s craft and focus run off and hide.

How to explain in an ebullient but professional way how your favorite school’s baseball team has just drawn and quartered the tenth best squad in the land by scores of 14-1 and 12 zed to be the first to punch a ticket to the College World Series.

What hook to use? Where to start? Does it really matter if you get the essentials and the peripherals onto the page.

So . . .

. . . this morning, while cruising the interweb, before heading out to The Jim, I came across a mention of Peyton Manning. Who, as you might recall, used a barked “Omaha” as a trigger to his teammates that he was changing the call at the line of scrimmage.

So, should the Cards prevail, I thought I might start with that angle, and work from there, maybe talk about how the Cards pulled a Peyton Manning. Which the observant among you will notice I have done.

Then there’s the more obvious storyline, which if I weren’t such a contrarian, I would have put at the beginning of the lede.

Bobby Miller. The righty is U of L’s third starter, but got the nod on Saturday noon. And all he of the 6-1, 4.37 ERA (4-0, 3.12 at home) did was totally throttle the hard hitting Pirates. Continue reading Louisville Rampages Way to Omaha, 12-0

Cards Roll Pirates in Supers’ Opener, 14-1

Not a lot of schools have ventured into The Jim this season with a hurler more heralded than the ACC’s best, Cardinal Reid Detmers (11-4, 2.96), he who now holds Louisville’s  all time season strikeout record, 156 and counting before Friday noon’s first pitch.

But, in addition to holding a hard to conceptualize 10 game winning streak against U of L, that’s exactly the East Carolina held in its hands.

Jake Agnos (11-2, 2.02) was dubbed First Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball.

And he had the rabid and raucous Pirate faithful pumped to the max, when he struck out the side in the bottom of the 1st, and proceeded to mow down the first ten Cardinals he faced.

Meanwhile, Detmers was a bit off his feed, which seemed a bad omen against the hard hitting ECU lineup, featuring six .300+ batters and a couple of guys with homer totals well into the teens. Despite struggling a might, he was able to get out of the 1st, stranding two visitors. The Pirates were three up three down in the 2d, but threatened hugely in the the 3d. (Yeah, I used the word “hugely,” deal with it.) Continue reading Cards Roll Pirates in Supers’ Opener, 14-1

Wednesday Seedy KO’s: Nwora, Network, Coach Nowhere to be Found ++

So, I’m at the cable store the other day, getting a box that fritzed changed out.

As the no fuss transaction is almost done, I ask my friendly, very helpful clerk Taylor, “Do you know if Spectrum is going to be carrying the ACC Network or not?”

At which point she looks up, smiles, then starts laughing, as does the clerk taking care of the customer next to me.

“I guess I’m not the first to ask, huh?”

Taylor: “Every day.”

The clerk next to her: “Every single day. Every single customer.”

Of course, neither had the answer, but it’s impossible to conceive that it won’t be carried since Louisville is the biggest college basketball market in the country, and has been for a number of years now.

But, an announcement would be nice.

 * * * * *

I used the occasion of spending last weekend at The Jim, covering U of L baseball in the NCAA Regional, to chat up other media heads to see if anybody had tried to track Bobby Petrino down for any comments the former U of L football coach might wish to share about last season and his departure? Continue reading Wednesday Seedy KO’s: Nwora, Network, Coach Nowhere to be Found ++

Cardinals Abide, Walk Off to the Supers

It was a throwback, this tussle to decide which feisty squad moved on for another weekend of play in the national championships, and which trundled home, its season done.

The rare weekday afternoon game. More kids than usual for a non-weekend affair. Sun high in the summer sky. Business folks sneaking out of the office. Retirees. Second shifters.

Forget digital, this game was a daguerreotype, in sepia. The only thing missing was a couple of old codgers wearing starched shirts, suspenders and straw boaters, arguing over who was better, Double XX or The Georgia Peach?

Heck, there was a half inning when the home team bunted three straight times. Old timey it was, I’m telling you.

Plus the Louisville Cardinals and the Illinois State Redbirds played one as close as their nicknames. Continue reading Cardinals Abide, Walk Off to the Supers

After 11-2 Romp, Cards a W away from Supers

OK, I’m racking my brain decades later to see if I can remember any of the laws of energy, Mr. Brashear tried to impart to us in 1st period Physics in H.S.?

Law of Conservation of Energy maybe? Potential energy is a concept I recall. Zeroth Law, is that a thing? Ya know, it’s not like I’ve thought a lot about theories of thermodynamics through the years.

But, seeing as how the energy of the Louisville Cardinal nine accelerated through yesterday’s twin killing of Indiana and Illinois State to force a decider Monday for a spot in the Supers, I have conceived a new hypothetical.

Who needs Stephen Hawking anyway?

For your consideration, I offer Seedy K’s Law of the Propagation of Energy. Continue reading After 11-2 Romp, Cards a W away from Supers

Cards Outlast Hoosiers & Umpire, 9-7

Survive and advance.

One down, two to go, starting with a 6:00 PM Ernie Banks” Let’s Play Two first pitch against Illinois State.

It was a day when the Cards’ post season bats finally woke up in the bottom of the 2d. A Danny Oriente double in the gap tallied two. After a walk and a sacrifice bunt, a Justin Lavey single plated two more.

The Hoosier loaded the sacks in the top of the 3d. But, coming up huge, starter Bobby Miller struck out the next two IU batters, then induced an inning ending fly out to center to end the threat.

The Cardinals added two more in their half on an Alex Binelas homer.

Miller quelled another potential rally in the top of the 5th, striking out two to end the inning.

Really aggressive  base running by Tyler Fitzgerald — He scored from 2d on a routine infield out — gave U of L a 7-0 lead after five.

IU came back with 4 in the 6th, but Adam Elliott calmed things down somewhat. Continue reading Cards Outlast Hoosiers & Umpire, 9-7

Cards face Elimination after L to Illinois State

The Louisville Cardinal nine has gone somnambulant in the post season.

After yet another uninspired loss, this an old fashioned, no homer, move the runners over via sacrifice, two and a half hour quickie to Illinois State from the MVC by 2-4 margin in front of a relatively sparse gathering, the Cards face . . . elimination.

It will take three wins in a row, including a couple on Sunday, commencing at noon against the IU Hoosiers, who stayed alive by beating Illinois Chicago.

The Cards find themselves in this predicament because, well, after coming from behind and taking a 2-1 lead in the top of the 6th, and needing a shut down inning, U of L gave up 3.

The key play there came when Reid Detmers induced the Redbirds best hitter, Joe Aeilts, to bounce a routine DP ball to 2B Justin Lavely. But after catching Lavely’s routine toss to get the runner at 2d, SS Tyler Fitzgerald inexplicably pirouetted, turning a 360, which resulted in a late throw to 1st.

With men on 1st and 2d, and the inning which should have been over still alive, PH Jeremy Gaines stroked a double down the line in left, plating the go ahead, winning runs.

The Cardinals didn’t threaten the rest of the way. Continue reading Cards face Elimination after L to Illinois State

Card Win NCAA Opener

Let’s be clear from the start.

Dan McDonnell has won more games as a head college baseball coach than I have.

My victory total in that position stands at 0.

McDonnell has 598. which is not only 598 more than me, but more than any other coach or school in the entire sport since he took charge at U of L in 2007.

Which is to say, he knows what he’s doing. Duh. Obviously. While all I’ve got is a keyboard to type out second guesses.

When, as he is wont to do, he didn’t start ace Reid Detmers in the regional opener at The Jim against the Illinois Chicago Flames, I was curious. Sure, the Cards figured to take care of the Horizon League visitors from the Windy City. But nothing’s a given. And winning the opener in the tourney is a big plus.

So, I and other Cardinal fans were not amused when Nick Bennett gave up a lead off tater to start his stint, then another to the first batter in the 2d,  both over the exact spot in rightish center over Mark Jurich’s photo. And the Flames tallied another run and Bennett and the Cards were shakily behind 0-3 before the Louisville’s second chance at the plate.

I was of course questioning McDonnell’s strategy. Lack of expertise be damned, it’s what I do. Continue reading Card Win NCAA Opener