Cards smack St. Louis, face Vandy this afternoon

Nine Louisville players had hits and six drove in runs as host and top seeded Cardinals blasted No. 4 Saint Louis 11-2 in the first round of the regional tournament at Jim Patterson Stadium.

"After we got it going, they just couldn't stop us," said UofL hitting coach Chris Lemonis, who ran the team with pitching coach Roger Williams in the absence of the suspended Dan McDonnell. "It was fun to be the assistant and get a chance to be in charge with Roger and the guys."

Louisville now turns its attention to a Vanderbilt squad that it has developed a heated rivalry with over the past two seasons. The pair played a 17-inning thriller in Nashville three weeks ago that ended with a walk-off home run by the Commodores, a controversial bat flip by Jason Esposito and no postgame handshake between the two teams.

The good news for Louisville is that the Commodores were forced to go 13 innings in their round one victory over Illinois State yesterday. The bad news is that Vandy coach Tim Corbin opted to save ace Sonny Gray, a future first round draft pick, for today's game.

U of L will reportedly counter with freshman Matt Koch, the team's No. 2 starter. Big East Pitcher of the Year Thomas Royse, today's expected starter, is apparently feeling a bit under the weather, but Lemonis didn't rule out the possibility of using him in relief.

First pitch today is scheduled for 4 p.m.

I made it out to the ballpark for the first time this season last night and had a blast. If you have the time, I highly recommend making the trek either tonight or tomorrow.

Additional thoughts:

--They've apparently implemented a train whistle noise for home runs this year. Dig it.

--My guess is you'd be hard-pressed to find a better trio of left-handed sticks than Andrew Clark, Phil Wunderlich and Stewart "Try and Pronounce My Last Name Correctly on the First Try" Ijames. All three of those guys can rake.

--Tony Zych can bring it.

--Loved this quote from St. Louis pitcher Bryant Cotton: "Every mistake I made, they crushed. Everything I threw they hit. I tip my hat to them. I competed, but there was nothing that I could do."

That's about as helpless as you'll ever hear an athlete.

--One of the best things about going to baseball games is discussing baseball with complete strangers. An elderly man I'd never met was sitting to my left and we ended up spending a good chunk of the night talking about the game, the team and the sport in general. Then he left without saying goodbye and kind of pissed me off.

--Ryan Wright is my favorite player on the team and there's no reason behind it.

--My dream Louisville sports lineup:

1. Peyton Siva, LF
2. Will Stein, CF
3. Preston Knowles, SS
4. Rock Keys, C
5. George Goode, 1B
6. Ryan Wright, 2B
7. Bilal Powell, 3B
8. Kyle Kuric, DH
9. Doug Beaumont, RF
Jared Swopshire, P

I foresee Swop getting very little run support and still taking the brunt of the blame.

Don't ask me where any of that came from.

--Louie the Cardinal Bird was at the game last night but bounced after like the 3rd inning. It's Friday, I get it, but that doesn't mean you don't have a goddamn job to do. Kids behind me were crying....hard.

--Go Cards.

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