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Monday, June 19, 2017

Four More Wins -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Louisville Uses Big Inning, Tops A&M 8-4


Before I get into this, I promise that after baseball season ends, in whatever fashion, I will get back to boring you with talks about women's soccer when you'd rather be reading about women's basketball. For now, though, you'll have to settle for reading about baseball when you'd rather be reading about women's basketball. We're an equal opportunity sports site here at Cardinal Couple.

Anyway, Louisville started off their College World Series in a way they haven't done in their previous three appearances. They won their first game. Louisville pitched their ace, Brendan McKay, and it was the star pitching lineup of McKay, Bordner, and Henzman that saw them through to victory. McKay looked shaky at times, and actually gave up all four earned runs, but the bats were strong and the bullpen stronger. Louisville had a 5-0 lead, chasing the Texas A&M starter in the second inning, before McKay was touched for his first run, and Bordner and Henzman combined for four perfect innings.

Big innings have been Louisville's MO this postseason (and much of the rest of the season, but I didn't do the math to back it up). In 7 victories this postseason, Louisville has scored 59 runs. Only 19 of those runs have come in innings where the Cards scored fewer than 3 runs. In fact, Game 2 against Kentucky was the only game in which the Cardinals did not have a three run inning, and they still scored six runs in the game. Louisville used another big inning yesterday when they used a couple of walks and a lot of singles to score 5 runs in the second inning. Texas A&M pulled their starter (who was actually their number 2 guy) after four runs and replaced him with a long reliever (who was actually their ace). When the Aggies cut the lead to 5-4, it looked as though using both pitchers might pay off if they could get the win. When they ultimately fell, the reality set in that Texas A&M had used their best two starters in the same game and now are down to their Sunday guy in an elimination game. I would call that, "not ideal." The bats have been important this postseason, and that won't change as the tournament goes on. As long as pitching can continue to hold serve, and the bats can stay hot, Louisville has a really good chance at this thing.

While Brendan McKay may not have been his normal "Player of the Year" self on the mound
yesterday, he labored to a decent start, and never trailed. Despite A&M's leadoff batter reaching in all but one inning of work for McKay, he limited damage to four runs spread over two innings before he was relieved by Sam Bordner. McKay worked himself out of a lot of jams with the help of his defense, but he got to a point where he wasn't missing bats and the bats weren't missing gaps. Not much the defense could do about it anymore, so Dan McDonnell made the move. Sam Bordner did as he has done all year and twirled 3 perfect innings, snuffing out hopes of an Aggie comeback.

Louisville will get a taste of their third straight SEC matchup on Tuesday night in the winner's game when they take on Florida (who defeated TCU) at 7PM on ESPN. Winning the opening game of the double elimination format is very important. Winning the second game puts you squarely in the driver's seat. If Louisville can stay perfect, they're four wins away from a national title. To quote the team, "[they] didn't come for some of it, [they] came for all of it." Run to the roar, Cardinals, and bring home the hardware.

Until next time, Go Cards
-CH-

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