Although there is no shame in losing on the road to the No. 5 teams in the country, the off-season will be filled with “what could have been” after Louisville had ample amount of opportunities in College Station this weekend.
The Cardinals were in control after the first inning thanks to a two-run bomb (that may or may not have landed yet) from Dalton Rushing, his 23rd dinger of the season.
The Aggies battled back, tying the game in the 3rd inning, with one of the runs coming from a bases loaded walk.
Jack Payton, who was clutch last weekend when his number was called against Michigan in a win-or-go-home situation, broke the tie with a single, scoring Metzinger in the 5th inning.
Texas A&M, as they did all weekend, had an answer. A solo home run in the 6th and sac-fly in the 7th proved to be the deciding runs in the 4-3 victory in favor of the Aggies.
Riley Phillips got the nod on the mound Saturday afternoon and continued showing how bright of a future he has with the Louisville program. Phillips tossed 5 strong innings, giving up four hits and three runs. His achilles heel, like the rest of the staff this weekend, was control. He walked three batters in his five innings of work.
Ryan Hawks (L, 5-3) and Evan Webster each pitched two innings, giving up just one run in the final four frames.
Heading into the Super Regional, if you told me Louisville would hold Texas A&M to five runs on Friday and four runs on Saturday, I would have guaranteed you this team would be making hotel accommodations in Omaha next weekend.
The Cardinals pitching, that has struggled for a majority of the season, showed up this weekend In a big way, but the offense was unable to find that one timely hit. Louisville outhit the Aggies 13-5 on Saturday in the loss, leaving 10 runners on base.
There are no moral victories in the Louisville baseball program, but to see what this team accomplished after missing the tournament last season should be a breath of fresh air for Cardinals fans going forward.
Not to mention, college baseball can be a cruel game, just ask Mississippi State. The Bulldogs won the National Championship last year and did not even make their conference tournament this season. As a matter of fact, two of the eight teams from Omaha a year ago, North Carolina State as the other, did not make a post-season appearance this year.
Louisville did not have any hype heading into the season, as they were selected to finish fourth in the ACC Atlantic Division. They were not in the Top 25 in any of the major polls and had many question marks entering the season.
Teddy Cahill, from Baseball America, showing Louisville some love.
This team really did. Louisville wasn't ranked in any preseason poll for the first time in more than a decade.— Teddy Cahill (@tedcahill) June 11, 2022
Collectively, we in college baseball media missed the boat on the Cardinals coming into the year. Really impressive team in the end. https://t.co/fbhvFXoaL3
For this team to earn a Top 16 seed and host a regional was quite the accomplishment. They challenged one of the best teams in the country, in one of the most intimidating atmospheres you can find in college baseball, falling by one run in each of the two games.
With the new transfer rules in place, this off-season is sure to be wild. Two Cardinals, Drake Westcott and Seamus Barrett have already placed their names in the transfer portal, but I am certain they will not be the last.
Roster management is more important now than it ever has been and the future for Louisville looks bright, but a few experienced arms could change the complete outlook of next season. We will see how Coach Mac approaches his roster in the coming weeks.
Stay tuned for updates.