Coming off of a game in which they posted their second lowest hit total of the season, the #7 Louisville Cardinals continued to struggle in Durham as they fell to the Clemson Tigers (34-24) 7-1 behind yet another game where the opposing starting pitcher went off. Louisville didn’t get a base hit until the ninth inning, and it was their only one of the game for a new season low in hits. The pitching staff had an equally rough day, giving up 12 base hits for only the fifth time all season.
Getting an extra start in before the postseason begins, sophomore left-hander Reid Detmers wasn’t his usual self against the Clemson hitters. While he was able to rack up 7 strikeouts in his time on the mound, the 2019 ACC Pitcher of the Year only lasted 4.0 innings before getting pulled. He surrendered 2 runs in the third off of a two out double from Clemson catcher Kyle Wilkie, then only compounded matters by giving up a 3 run home run in the next inning to third baseman Justin Hawkins. It marked Reid’s worst performance of the year with a game ERA of 11.25, besting his 10.13 game ERA against Virginia just 13 days earlier.
While Detmers had arguably his worst start of the season, head coach Dan McDonnell wasn’t all too concerned with his performance, instead crediting Clemson’s ability as a team to hit off of left -handers. “[Clemson]’s really good against left-handed pitching. They beat both of our lefties earlier in the year,” McDonnell said. “Reid will turn the page. He’ll have over a week to prepare for his next start.”
Starting the fifth inning would be freshman left-hander Garrett Schmeltz, but he would also find himself at the mercy of the Tigers’ offensive prowess. A pair of two out singles added another run for Clemson, resulting in Schmeltz getting pulled after just a 0.2 inning showing. Right-hander Shay Smiddy had himself the best performance of the afternoon for the Cardinals pitching staff, tossing a pair of strikeouts over his 2.1 innings on the mound.
Though even he was at the mercy of Clemson. Kyle Wilkie would find pay dirt yet again, this time going yard for his 5th home run of the season off a two-out home run in the seventh inning. The solo shot would mark only the 12th time all season that the pitching staff surrendered double digit hits, but their 5th time in the last 10 games. Relieving Smiddy, freshman RHP Jack Perkins and junior LHP Adam Elliott would pitch an inning each to end the game. They were the only pitchers for Louisville to not surrender a run to the Tigers.
Clemson’s Mat Clark had himself a spectacular day on the mound against Louisville. The sophomore right-hander had a perfect game going until the eighth inning when freshman third baseman Alex Binelas drew a one-out walk. He also took a no-hitter to the ninth inning until sophomore Zach Britton hit a solo home run to lead off the ninth inning. Louisville would get three more men on base after the solo shot but could into cash in, plating just 1 run for the first time since the Clemson series opener on April 5th.
“It’s a contagious game just seeing one bad at-bat after another. It kinda put us down a little bit”, junior shortstop Tyler Fitzgerald said. “But nothing really changes. We’re gonna have a good week of practice starting tomorrow.”
With a national seed pretty much locked despite their 0-2 performance at the ACC Baseball Championship in Durham, Louisville will find out their postseason draw this upcoming Monday on the NCAA Baseball Tournament Selection Show. It will air on ESPNU this Monday, May 27th at noon. Regionals hosts will be revealed the night before, where it is be presumed that Louisville will be among them.
W: Mat Clark (9-2), L: Reid Detmers (11-3)
- Sophomore LHP Reid Detmers’ 7 strikeouts on the day puts him 1 strikeout behind the UofL single season record of 146 (Brendan McKay – 2017). He is also 4 strikeouts behind 10th place Rod Biehl (1990-91: 218) on the UofL career strikeouts list with 214.