UofL’s Luke Smith owned Vanderbilt before the distractions

Luke Smith, a Louisville junior, dominating Vanderbilt for eight innings, allowing only one run and three hits before the fatal ninth inning (UofL photo by Jeff Reinking).

Not sure what all the yelling was all about between the University of Louisville and Vanderbilt University baseball players. What is certain, however, is that the verbal sparring in the eighth inning left an ugly taste after what would have been one of college baseball’s best games of the season.

Some players in the Vandy dugout apparently frustrated with Luke Smith’s total dominance on the mound. One or more of them reportedly hurling gay taunts at the Louisville pitcher who had made quick work of the Vandy batters. Julian Infante the third batter, striking out, specifically mouthing something in Smith’s direction.

Luke Smith, with the most impressive pitching performance of the season up to that point, putting UofL in a position to win. In total control up to that point, ready to lead his team into a third game against Vandy and possible in the finals against Michigan.

Moments later, the network camera going to closeup mode, showing Smith mouthing the most common of profanities between bitter antagonists. The umpires taking charge, warning Smith, demanding that Vanderbilt players stay in the dugout.

The magic evaporating quickly for UofL, just one inning after scoring two runs to finally get the lead. A lead that likely would have held without the theatrics. Three measly popups for UofL batters in the bottom of the eighth.

Smith had lost his command and his focus after returning to the mound the ninth. Forced to finally leave the game after facing three batters in the ninth, giving up a walk, a double and the tying run.  The momentum back to Vanderbilt.

No closer in the vicinity. Reliever Michael McAvene loading the bases,  allowing the winning run. The magic gone, along with all the optimism and the possibilities.  Louisville losing 3-2, and eliminated from the 2019 College World Series.

Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

2 thoughts on “UofL’s Luke Smith owned Vanderbilt before the distractions”

  1. Having been a pitcher for UofL many years ago,I was always taught to control your temperament when pitching a baseball game.I notice that many of our pitchers show emotions while walking off of the mound.Coach Williams must encourage it because he allows this emotion to continue.Some players act out because they have rabbit ears.Let your pitching performance speak for itself.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Bill. The momentum had clearly switched to UofL before all the emotion erupted. All of a sudden that goes out of the window, along with Louisville’s aspirations and hopes in the CWS. Really sad. UofL could still be competing.

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