Anthony Kidston hasn’t lost a baseball game since he arrived at the University of Louisville two years ago. He was 5-0 as a freshman, he’s 8-0 this season after UofL defeated Kansas 6-3 Saturday to assure the Cardinals will be in the championship game of NCAA Regional.
His personal winning streak dates back to his senior season at Defiance, Ohio, where he won nine games without a loss and compiled an earned run average of 0.59. He was also a decent hitter, batting .404 while driving in 33 runs that year In other words, he’s a winner.
Through the first four innings Saturday, Kidston had allowed only two hits while holding the Jawhawks scoreless. Kansas would score its first run after a walk and two singles. He would leave the bases loaded.
Dan McDonnell wasn’t about to pull him, however, needing a couple of more innings from the 6-foot-2 righthander. Kidston would give up two more singles, a walk and another run in the sixth, Kansas cutting the deficit to 6-2.
Still had another inning in him, shutting Kansas down 1-2-3 in the seventh. When he retired to the dugout in the eighth inning, Kidston had given up five hits while walking five batters and notching five strikeouts.
Not a masterpiece by any means but a very important win, assuring that UofL has a great shot at a Regional championship. If the Cardinals are successful, they host a Super Regional (after Florida State was eliminated Saturday).
Kansas and Kentucky will meet Sunday at noon in the elimination bracket with Louisville playing the winner of that game at 4 p.m.
The University of Kentucky baseball team was conducting practice at Jim Patterson Stadium but Louisville Coach Dan McDonnell says he hasn’t given much thought to a possible matchup with UK in the NCAA’s Louisville Region this weekend.
“The most important game we have is against Kent State,” he said during a press conference. “It’s the game of the moment. There is no other game.
“We’ve getting a lot of questions about possible match ups but there’s no guarantee we’re playing one of other two teams on the other side (of the bracket). And there’s a good chance we won’t. In just about every regional we host, there’s one team we don’t play. Right now Kent State’s the team. They went to Omaha a few years ago.
“As coaches and players, we have to focus on Kent State. I don’t see a bigger game than that. We hope to be in the winners bracket but I can’t hope, predict or want to play another team. Both of those teams (UK and Kansas) are really good. One of them is our rival, the other we haven’t played.”
McDonnell added that Kansas is really excited about playing in the Regional and reminds him a lot of his first UofL team that went to the College World Series in 2007. “Kansas is super excited about being here and you’ve got to be careful with teams like that. You can’t overlook any team in the NCAA.”
As expected, the discussion surrounding the Louisville Regional is dominated by speculation that the University of Louisville and Kentucky will square off in the second round.
UK Coach Gary Henderson is apparently caught up in the conjecture, changing his pitching rotation so left-hander A. J. Reed will start if UofL is the opponent.
Reed was the SEC Player of the Year with an 11-2 won-lost record on the mound. He’s also the Wildcats’ best hitter with an impressive 351 batting average and 23 home runs.
UofL’s Dan McDonnell hasn’t indicated who will be on the mount in the opening game against Kent State. Presumably he will stick with right hander Kyle Funkhouser, who had a 12-2 record.
Kent State, which eliminated UK during the NCAA tournament last season is powered by Alex Miklos and Zarley Zalewski, batting 362 and 355, respectively.
As for UofL’s second game, McDonnell isn’t optimistic that right-hander Jared Ruxer will be available, saying the odds are only 50-50. Ruxer has a 7-1 won-lost record but is plagued with a forearm injury.
McDonnell will think twice about using Josh Rogers if UK is indeed the opponent. The freshman lost both games against Kentucky during the regular season.
Less than 100 days until the 2014 football season begins. Time again to update the rules of etiquette at University of Louisville football games.
Especially important as UofL prepares to join the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Everyone is familiar with fans who wind up at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium oblivious to what’s happening on the field. Some of the rules are for them, other for people who grate on the nerves of fellow fans.
Most of these would apply to other sports, but they are often violated with impunity at PJCS so we’ll keep hammering at them until hell freezes over:
- Leave earlier to the get to the stadium. Every game will be a sold this season. Pack up the tailgate, be in your seat at kickoff.
- Don’t cross in front of other fans to get to your seat in the middle of a play. You are blocking the view of fans who actually care about the game. Wait till the play is over. Wait till the play is over.
- Know when to stand or not to stand. Nothing worse than someone standing up when nothing is happening, sometime affecting several rows of fans. (Hint: If you’re the only one standing in the section, there’s a problem).
- Don’t be a negative neanderthal. There’s always some guy who thinks every play is terrible, every tackle is sloppy, any gain by the opposing team is poor defensive play, and thinks he’s the expert on play calling.
- Limit social, non-football dialogue if possible. Your long time friends may actually be more interested in football.
- Limit alcohol intake. Don’t spill beer on fellow fans. Or your guts for that matter.
- Watch your language. Difficult at times. But coaches, players and officials can’t hear you. Only your seat neighbors who struggle to ignore you.
- Don’t make a big show of leaving before the game is over. Players notice. Coaches, too, especially those previously suspected of wandering eyes.
- Don’t wear apparel from opposing programs (there’s always one or two UK fans) unless your team is UofL’s opponent that day.
- Don’t sell or give your Louisville vs. UK tickets to Kentucky fans. Ever.
Louisville’s 74-69 loss to Kentucky in this Sweet 16 game will be remembered by Cardinal fans as one the UofL could have easily won. The Cards just wouldn’t let the Cats go away, and in the end probably beat themselves.
Kentucky earned the win, no doubt, by hanging around, allowing UofL to make mistakes and miss free throws while making the shots they had to make against probably the best defensive team they will meet in the NCAA tournament.
Russ Smith, one of the all-time greats in program history but also one of the most unpredictable, would have his ups and downs again in his final game. He would have some amazing moments, some awkward, some mind boggling, all the while keeping Louisville in front most of the game.
Russ would make only four out of 10 free throw attempts in the first half, creating his own mind games with the jiggle action at the free throw line. He finally dropped the jiggle but by then it was too late because he wouldn’t make it back to the line again. He wrapped up his career with 23 points, three assists, two rebounds and one steal in his last game.
Luke Hancock just kept getting better as the end of his career approached. Probably one of the most savvy players to ever wear a UofL uniform. He will be remembered in his last game for two in-your-face dunks, three point beauties, four-of-four free throw attempts and a total of 19 points. Always the catalyst, Hancock would make key shot after key shot but the momentum never followed.
Montrezl Harrell probably improved more in one season than any player in UofL’s illustrious history, bringing back the dunk as a staple in this year’s offense. Still needs to work on those free throws and shot blocking.
Among the most surprising and optimistic developments was the play of Mangot Mathiang, with his two blocked shots, two steals, and four rebounds, making him a candidate for next season’s most improved.
The winningest senior class in history has left the house (along with Harrell probably). Some great memories. Treasure them, because Rick Pitino will have his work cut out for him next season.
I know a preacher’s wife who unabashedly proclaims, “I hate Louisville.” What do you say to that?
Take into consideration that she is from “out there” in the state. Why the hate? Let me give my perspective:
I grew up not in this state, only moving here when I turned 13. For a Southern teenage girl, there was no interest in football or basketball, just rock and roll, Annette Funicello, American Bandstand.
Flash forward – college in Lexington (not the University of Kentucky, by the way). If I paid any attention at all, it was to my dad rooting for UK’s Cotton Nash or Ronnie Lyons.
Flash forward – post-graduate degree from UK (hey, they offered the major I wanted). I married the observer, a University of Louisville fanatic, scandalizing the family, risking shunning. Well, maybe not that extreme.
This was early in Coach Crum’s years at UofL, and for a couple of years, we are a House Divided, until I realized that this UCLA guy just might have something going for him. I crossed over. And therein lies the rub, as they say. As Crum’s teams began hanging banners in Freedom Hall, dominating, UK fans became increasingly resentful. Football team beats SEC team in Fiesta Bowl.
Ouch. Upstarts, they whined. No tradition, they harped.
Fans can gather UofL spirit squads at either the Colts Grille, 110 South Washington Street, or Champps Americana, 49 West Washington Street. The official pre-game parties, which are presented by GEICO Insurance, will begin at 3 p.m. Big screen TV’s at both locations, of course, and food and drink will be available for purchase.
For fans not traveling to Indianapolis, game watch parties will be held at Buffalo Wild Wings and Rooster’s Wings locations in Louisville.
Women’s Watch Party
A game watch party for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team’s NCAA tournament game Tuesday against Iowa will be hosted at Rooster’s in Middletown. Tipoff on ESPN is scheduled at 9:35.