Louisville waves goodbye to Mississippi State, advances in CWS

Photos by Jeff Reinking, UofL Sports

 Another one of those potential nightmares against Mississippi State, the program few University of Louisville fans pay any attention to for the most part. When their paths do cross, Cardinal fans are on full alert, having lost to the Bulldogs three last three times — in the Taxslayer football bowl 2017, an NIT basketball game and a Final Four women’s basketball game in 2018.

Drew Campbell would collect three hits while driving in two runs, including the walkout in the ninth inning (Jeff Reinking, UofL Sport photos)

Understandable that loud collective groan when Mississippi State is the opponent.  Rarely on purpose because they don’t schedule each other. The losses have followed a familiar pattern, ending UofL’s respective seasons.

The last team any Louisville fan wanted to see Thursday night was Mississippi State. Not even close.

Seemed inevitable that the UofL baseball team was going down again, batters struggling again, runners getting caught out of position, and pitchers searching for the strike zone. Meekly going though the motions, seemingly powerless at times.

Still hard to believe that Louisville emerged with a 4-3 win over Mississippi State. The Cardinals had nine hits, none of them for extra bases, managing six singles with their backs against the wall in the final three innings. 

Right fielder Drew Campbell would play a pivotal role in this one, playing in a little too close in the fourth inning. Helplessly watching the baseball fly over his head, opening the gate for two Mississippi State runs.  Another one of those College World Series pitching duels, every run a monumental challenge.

Campbell would emerge the hero in this game, however, with the best hit of the night, a solid hit to right, sending Danny Oriente home from second base with the winning run. Jake Snider had scored earlier on a base hit by Oriente.

It was also Drew Campbell who had given his team some hope, with his single to left field scoring Tyler Fitzgerald with UofL’s first run. Alex Binelas  would score on a fielder’s choice off of Justin Lavey’s bat.

An understandably sweet victory, ending an intolerable drought against Mississippi State. A second straight win over a Southeastern Conference, the Cardinals having eliminated both Mississippi State and Auburn on successive days.

Louisville down to the final four, needing two wins over Vanderbilt advance to the finals of the College World Series next week. Nice to get that Mississippi State monkey off the back, but aiming for unprecedented success on college baseball’s highest plateau.

Louisville baseball falls short, looks forward to ACC competition

Too many pop ups in that 30 mile-per-hour wind blowing in from center field. Too many errors on routine plays. Too many Texas base runners. Final score: Texas 4, Louisville 1.

Just a sad ending for a team that brought such joy to the community during the past two weeks, raising hopes so high — so close yet so far — only to see them crushed in the end.

Another early exit for the University of Louisville from the College World Series. Zero wins in four tries the past two seasons. As disappointing as it was for the UofL baseball team, best to remember that Louisville was the only team that made back to back appearances in Omaha.

The future of the program couldn’t be any brighter as UofL prepares to enter the Atlantic Coast Conference next season. Seven ACC teams were invited to the NCAA tournament for the sixth straight season. Two of them were national seeds and hosted regionals.

A definite step up in competition from the American Conference, but that’s what Louisville fans want — to be able to consistently compete at the highest level.

Take heart from this parting tweet from a returning player:

And a reengineered sportswriter:

Vandy 5, Louisville 3

A familiar scene, Kyle Funkhouser having trouble finding the plate in the early innings.

Walking six batters, giving up six hits, loading the bases every other inning. Having given up four runs, settles down, hangs around for  six innings.

Worked out for him in the Regional and Super Regional, but this is the College World Series. At a stadium that has always posed major challenges for hitters, as members of the University of Louisville baseball team are well aware.

No place for uncertainty or  nerves, have to bring your best.

Right-hander Anthony Kidston, undefeated in two seasons at UofL, will face his toughest test Monday, at 3 p.m. against the University of Texas in an elimination game.

Louisville Rivals video

Louisville baseball to host Regional after all

regional

Another reason every human being should have a Twitter account. It’s the quickest way to get news out there, especially on a holiday weekend.

Minimum verbiage, using graphics.

The University of Louisville baseball will be hosting an NCAA Regional, starting this Friday at Jim Patterson Stadium.

The NCAA made the announcement via Twitter shortly after 8:30 p.m. Sunday, posting the photos of sites that have been selected. Other Regional sites include Bloomington, Nashville, Houston, Lafayette, La., Baton Rouge, Charlottesville, Coral Gables, Oxford, Miss., Tallahassee, Stillwater, San Luis Obispo, and Houston (Rice).

Participating teams in the Regionals will be announced via more conventional means at Noon Monday — on ESPNU.