The Louisville Cardinals’ (49-17) quest for their first title in program history experienced a speed bump today, as they fell 3-1 to the hands of the Vanderbilt Commodores (55-11) in the opening weekend of the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. The Cardinals’ pitching staff kept the ‘Dores mostly in check with the exception of sophomore third baseman Austin Martin, whose 2 home runs on the day were responsible for all of Vanderbilt’s runs. Similarly, Louisville at times struggled with connecting base hits as they went 2-11 with two outs & 3-16 with runners on base which subsequently left 10 men on base.
Louisville’s first game of the 2019 College World Series could have started a bit better for starting pitcher Reid Detmers. On the first pitch of the very first batter that he faced, the Commodores struck first. Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin took advantage of a fastball right over the plate to give the Commodores the lead while people were still trying to find their seats.
The sophomore southpaw struggled with his command for a majority of the game. The rest of the first inning would be the longest frame of the afternoon for him, tossing 26 total pitches in the first and 102 pitches overall. He would also allow 6 walks in his 5.2 inning start for a new career high while also fanning only 5 batters, his lowest strikeout total since sitting down only 3 in the season opener against UConn. Fortunately he only allowed 3 base hits in his time on the mound, and the leadoff homer by Martin was the lone run that he surrendered.
On the offensive side of things, the Cardinal Nine struggled just about as much as the Commodores did at the plate. Despite outhitting Vanderbilt, Louisville offered multiple baserunners in an inning just twice on the afternoon and collected more than 1 base hit in just one inning. This came in the fifth where the Cards got a hit in 4 straight at-bats, including one by freshman catcher Henry Davis which sent junior second baseman Justin Lavey home for the equalizer. Davis was the lone Cardinal batter on the afternoon to register multiple base hits, going 2-4 with Louisville”s only RBI.
Unfortunately Louisville would also strand the bases loaded at the end of the fifth, missing out on a key opportunity to take control of the game. Instead, Vanderbilt would be the one to take control not long after a Louisville pitching change. Senior right-hander Bryan Hoeing was able to relieve Detmers in the sixth and pitch around a baserunner, but he would not be so lucky in the seventh. Austin Martin would strike yet again, connecting on an inside change-up for his second home run of the game, this time for 2 runs.
After a walk of J.J. Bleday following the 2-run blast, Coach Mac would make a near immediate call to the bullpen and insert sophomore right-hander Michael Kirian. He was able to close out the game strong, striking out a pair and being the only Louisville pitcher in the game to surrender no hits, walks or runs. Louisville made it interesting in the ninth when sophomore outfielder Zach Britton would go up to pinch hit and got on base with 2 outs, but a fly out in the next at-bat would seal Louisville’s fate.
Next up, the Cardinals will face either the Auburn Tigers or the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the CWS 0-1 elimination game. First pitch is scheduled for Tuesday, June 18th at 2:00pm and will be televised on ESPN while being broadcast on 93.9 The Ville.
W: Drake Fellows (13-1), L: Bryan Hoeing (3-4), S: Tyler Brown (15)
- Louisville falls to 2-9 overall in the College World Series, only winning in 2007 (12-4 vs. Mississippi State) and 2017 (8-4 vs. Texas A&M).
- Overall, Louisville falls to 10-26 vs. Vanderbilt and 4-5 against them the postseason. With 9 contests, they are the most played against opponent in the postseason for the Cards (Cal State Fullerton is second with 5).