More than at any other time during an extended season, little things matter. Doing the technical stuff, the basics, the fundamentals. A miscue here and there, other things being equal, and the tolerance between success and failure increases.
Texas Longhorn’s were ready in yesterday’s elimination game with the Cardinals.
They fashioned a classic run in the top of the 3d. Lead off double. Runner advances on an infield out to the first sacker. Sacrifice fly plates the score. 1 nil, Texas.
In the bottom of the inning, the Cards left two on, without a tally. O.J. Hinojosa made a sterling play on a shot by Sutton Whiting. If he doesn’t, the Cards might have answered with a run of their own. They didn’t.
It was that kind of day. Louisville wasn’t ready enough.
Little things killed the Cards’ chances. In the top of the fourth, a Longhorn single drops in, because Jeff Gardner was playing too deep, given the wind conditions. Shaw scored, after a sac bunt, and a Cardinal E6 on a double play ball. 2 zero, Texas.
In the top of the 5th, Texas added another run, aided by two E4s, on consecutive plays no less.
Texas tallied again, thanks to a throwing error charged to reliever Nick Burdi, when he threw high to second on an attempted sacrifice bunt.1
The Cardinal lapses weren’t only on defense. Twice runners were doubled up at first, on plays when their base running should have been more judicious. It happened in the bottom of the first; again in the bottom of the 7th.
Even coach Dan McDonnell wasn’t immune. U of L had runners on first and second with no outs in the bottom of the 8th. With only six outs left, McDonnell gave up one of them, taking the bat out of Kyle Gibson’s hands by having the lead off hitter sacrifice to advance the runners.
Down three, it seemed an oddly conservative move. Only one Cardinal scored.2
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Though he lost his first game ever in red & black, hurler Anthony Kidston pitched pretty well.
Only two of the runs against him in eight innings were earned.
He finished his eight inning stint on the mound, by retiring 11 Longhorns in a row.
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So, for the second year in a row, the Louisville nine’s season ends not with a bang, but a whimper.
Ah . . . but3 . . . it ended in Omaha. In the College World Series. Where every school in the land hopes its season ends. And where Louisville has finished its campaign thrice in the last 8 years, the last two in a row.
Which is pretty damn nifty, if you ask me.
Were I a betting man, I’d wager that Louisville’s success on the diamond is just ratcheting up.
Despite the disappointing ending to the campaign, the future’s so bright for U of L baseball — to coin a phrase — you gotta wear shades.
To protect your vision in that June Nebraska sunlight.
— Seedy K