Louisville: Cards Roll To Big Win
By Doug Kroll - June 08, 2007
Since blogging is now not allowed during play, it's time to fit nearly everything into one post. Don't get me started on the policy, but it is what it is. Louisville defeated Oklahoma State 9-0 in front of a Jim Patterson Stadium record crowd of 4,023, as the Cards hosted their first postseason baseball event ever. It was my first time seeing both teams this year, and let me tell you folks something, Louisville is for real.
The Cards may have been inconsistent throughout the season, especially in the season's final month or so, but they have gotten it together, and at this point in the year, it'd be tough to find a more potent offense from top to bottom than Louisville. Let's hand out some awards.
Player Of The Game:
Louisville starter Zack Pitts went seven innings giving up no runs and just four hits with six strikeouts and only two walks. And perhaps the best part about it? The junior only threw 78 pitches! Unbelievable performance, as he was able to bounce back after a shaky outing against Miami last week in Columbia. This kid is the real deal. Pitts shutdown one of the best lineups in the nation, as the Cowboys came into the day hitting .326 as a team. They certainly didn't hit that today.
Turning Point Of The Game:
This one was over pretty much from the get go. Eleventh-round draft pick Isaiah Howes hit a towering two-run homerun to deep left center in the top of the first inning to put the Cardinals up by three. Howes was told just before heading to the dugout before the game that he was drafted by the Yankees in the 11th round today. The best part about it? He's a Red Sox fan!! Let's see how that goes over when he arrives in rookie ball in a couple weeks or so.
Signs Of Overmanaging:
OSU's Frank Anderson used seven pitchers today, after starter Oliver Odle could only go three after giving up six hits and five runs. Robbie Weinhardt came in to toss 2.2 while giving up a couple hits and two runs, Andrew Oliver (making his first relief appearance of the season) came on to pick up the last out of the sixth. Martin Beno then pitched two innings without surrendering a run, Brandon Adams got tagged for two runs in .2 innings in the ninth, but Tyler Lyons was the one to give up an inherited runner after surrendering a hit to the only batter he faced, before Jeff Breedlove recorded the final out of the top of the ninth by inducing a groundout.
I understand Anderson wanted to get a couple guys into the ballgame in front of a hostile crowd, but coach, this one was well out of hand. No need for seven guys to see action when this one was over midway through.
Pitts moves to 10-3 on the season, while Odle drops to 7-5. Louisville finished with 13 hits, while Oklahoma State finished with six. The Cards launched three homeruns on the day, as Howes hit his 18th, Chris Dominguez rocked his 13th out of the park, while Pete Rodriguez hit his 2nd of the season. The only Cowboy with more than one hit was Jordy Mercer, who finished the game 2-for-4.
Best Crowd Moments:
No question that this crowd was into it. With temporary stands in place, the place was rocking. Chants of "C-A-R-D-S, CARDS!!!" nearly shook the place at times (imagine the Eagles chant, E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES!! except a little shorter). Then there were the "U of L! U of L!" chants. All coach McDonnell could say during the press conference was how much this meant to his team, the fact it sounded more like Freedom Hall then a baseball game. And then there were the boos for Chris Dominguez, a UofL player. See, in Missouri last week he got into some accusations of showboating by Missouri, and their crowd got all over him. So of course, Louisville fans had to continue that because of such a great weekend he had last weekend. Just wanted to make him feel comfortable!
Best Moment Of The Day Overall:
Seeing the Louisville players walk into the press conference. One commented,"We get to sit down!?" Can't blame the kid, as they've never seen this type of attention before. After all, this is their second ever trip to the postseason, and now have five more wins in the postseason than ever before in all of their years combined.
Starter Zack Pitts looked like a kid in a candy store. They were so excited to have their crowd behind them. A lot of these guys have never played in front of 4,000+ before, and especially at home. It's something these guys will remember for the rest of their lives, as for some, this is as big as it will get. Even if they do win one more game and make it to Omaha, once they get there, the fans aren't all rooting for them. But then again, the native Omahan's seem to take the hat of the underdog each year, so let's wait on that.
So What's This Mean?:
It's the greatest day in Louisville baseball history. Plain and simple. They are now just one game from Omaha. This from a team that had never won a postseason game (0-2 in their only appearance in 2002). By only using one guy out of their bullpen, the Cards are setup beautifully for tomorrow's game that starts at Noon Eastern. They'll throw a freshman lefty to the mound, Justin Marks, but he's 8-2 with a 2.61 ERA. Opponents are only hitting .195 off of him, and he was named Big East Rookie of the year. For the Cowboys, well, coach Anderson wasn't too sure about who he was going to throw tomorrow, but the odds are it should be Joe Kent, who is 4-2 with a 3.42 ERA.
The Cowboys are a streaky team, have been all year. Win a few, lose a few. Not since the beginning of April have they won just one or lost just one. It's always been a streak. Let's put it this way: if the Cowboys keep that up, they'll be heading back to Stillwater in no time.
That'll do it from Louisville, where once again, the Cardinals have taken a 1-0 lead in this best two-of-three series after a 9-0 win behind the strong performance of Zack Pitts. Until tomorrow morning, good night everybody.
Posted by Doug Kroll at 05:40 PM on June 08, 2007