Playing in their de facto rubber match after splitting their two game series back in March, the #21 Louisville Cardinals unfortunate fell victim to their old ways and fell to the #9 Texas Tech Red Raiders, 10-2. A rough day by the pitching staff combined with poor base running and a failure to generate base hits with runners in scoring position doomed the #2 seeded Cardinals.
Instead of an offensive explosion right out of the gates like in the game against Kent State the day before, the game took a bit of a U-turn as a pair of aces traded blows before the scoring opened up. Texas Tech’s Caleb Killian and Louisville’s Nick Bennett, both of whom have 8-1 records and sub-2.50 ERAs, put up zeros in the first couple innings of the contest.
The Cardinal Nine would crack the scoreboard first in the top of the third thanks to a bases loaded groundout from sophomore first baseman Logan Wyatt, but their lead would not last for long. A sacrifice fly, bases loaded walk and bases loaded balk would bring home three runs for the Red Raiders and give them a 3-1 advantage through the early innings.
A fourth inning miscommunication in the outfield by Texas Tech would bring home a run for Louisville and cut the deficit to just one, but the bottom of the inning would see another crooked number inning for the Red Raiders. An RBI double that would still leave two runners in scoring position and only one out would spell the end of Bennett’s day and see Coach Mac head to the bullpen. Sophomore right-hander Shay Smiddy would relieve Bennett, but Texas Tech would still find a way to breakthrough, striking a base hit that would send both runners in scoring position home. Tech’s 6 runs through 4 innings set a new career high for earned runs by Nick Bennett.
Unfortunately for Louisville, the bullpen would not be subject to mercy either from the Red Raiders’ bats. Tech would plate two more runs in the sixth while Smiddy was on the mound, and after tying a career high in walks with 4, the bullpen would be called on yet again. Making only his fourth appearance of the year, junior left-hander JD Mundt would have his number called. However the pouring of runs would still not stop, as Josh Jung would drive a 2 run home run in the seventh to give Texas Tech double digit runs as well as a 10-2 advantage.
While Mundt would put up a zero in the eighth inning, and back-to-back RBI base hits from Josh Stowers and Lucas Dunn in the bottom of the ninth gave the Cards a fighting chance, it would ultimately prove too much. Louisville could only turn it from an eight run loss into a six run loss.
Up next, the Cards will take on the Kent State Golden Flashes yet again, this time in the 1-1 elimination game. First pitch is set for Sunday, June 3rd at 3pm on ESPN3.
|#9 Texas Tech||10||10||2|
W: Caleb Killian (9-1), L: Nick Bennett (8-2), S: Ty Harpenau (3)
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