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 came when Reid Detmers induced the Redbirds best hitter, Joe Aeilts, to bounce a classic 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. Runner safe. Game knotted. Inning alive.
With men on 1st and 2d, and the inning which should have been over still extant, PH Jeremy Gaines stroked a double down the line in left, plating the go ahead, winning runs.
The Cardinals failed to threaten the rest of the way.
Kudos for a season defining effort to Illinois State hurler Matt Walker. He took the mound with a 4-8 record, and a 5.11 ERA. He’d never tossed past seven this season. Until Saturday, when he went the whole way for a complete game, against the meek Cardinal batters.
It’s not like Louisville’s ace Detmers, the ACC’s best, pitched poorly. He gave up but three hits and three walks, striking out 11. But the visitors were efficient, tallying four runs with that trio of timely base knocks.
The winners’ D also helped. Twice the victors’ first sacker Jack Butler nabbed screamers down the right field line and tagged the bag for inning killing unassisted DPs.
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U of L, the #7 national seed, playing at home, was the visiting team.
I’ve never understood why the NCAA doesn’t reward higher seeded squads, allowing them always to be the home team. Nobody could explain the formula they use to determine that?
Which is to say, I haven’t the slightest idea whether the Cards will bat first or second in the elimination game against Indiana.
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Not sure why, in the heat of the sunny afternoon, Louisville donned heat absorbing all black unis?
-- Seedy K