Thompson tries to keep U of L season alive

Jeff Thompson

OMAHA, Neb. – The University of Louisville baseball team has a must-win game on Monday afternoon, facing Oregon State in an elimination game at the College World Series. Junior Jeff Thompson will take the mound for the Cardinals in the 3 p.m. EDT start at TD Ameritrade Park, Here's a look at Thompson and some other notes:

University of Louisville pitching coach Roger Williams is confident in handing the ball to all of his starters and putting them on the mount to start a game.

But he's been a little extra confident with Jeff Thompson.

So on Sunday, Williams said he was excited to give the ball to the junior right-handed pitcher who was named Big East Pitcher of the Year and was a second-team All-American by several media outlets.

"No doubt," Williams said. "Our whole team knows what Jeff brings to the table and obviously we feel like he can beat anybody if he's on his game.

"Yeah, there's a certain comfort level there knowing that he's going and he's fresh and we have him available (for the game)."

Thompson, who was drafted last week in the third round of the MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers, hasn't lost since April 20 and has won five times in his past six starts. He's 11-1 on the season with a 2.00 ERA and 109 strikeouts."

In his past six outings, Thompson has 46 strikeouts and a 2.36 ERA in 42 innings of work.

"It's the same as every week for me personally," Thompson said. "I just have to put my team in a position to win. Pressure is not really something I try to feel. I feel like I am prepared for the situation. I just need to do my job."

Williams and head coach Dan McDonnell both said they are confident that Thompson will give the Cardinals a chance.

A win and U of L will play on Wednesday in a losers' bracket game, but a loss and the Cardinals season is over. U of L is 51-13 and is in the World Series for the second time in school history and has an overall 1-3 record.

"I don't think Jeff is going to get caught up into anything," Williams said. "He's pretty grounded. Of course, everybody is aware of the situation but his job is to go about his business, do his job and give us a quality start."

THE BULLPEN IN RELIEF

U of L used three pitchers out of the bullpen in Saturday's loss to Indiana, including Cody Ege for 4.1 innings of work.

Dace Kime and Cole Sturgeon also pitched for the Cardinals.

Williams said he will monitor his pitchers after warm ups before the game but it could be an all hands on deck situation for the Cardinals.

"The format with a day off helps a degree," Williams said. "I will always look at them and make sure they have recovered.

"Cody had more work that he's had before. But he said he felt great (on Sunday). Individually, it's all about how they recover. We'll have to see."

FILOMENO PITCHES ON THE SIDE

Reliever Joe Filomeno came out of the eighth inning of the Super Regional last week against Vanderbilt with an injured left arm.

McDonnell said earlier this week he was being evaluated.

Williams said on Sunday that Filomeno threw from 60-90 feet and "didn't feel anything," noting the pitcher told him his arm was "much better."

"Is he ready to pitch tomorrow?" Williams asked. "I don't know because he has not pitched off a mound for a week. But he's feeling better."

Williams said Filomeno even participated in a team drill.

ENGEL NEEDS TO GET ON BASE

Center fielder Adam Engel started the season as the top projected draft pick on the U of L team but has struggled.

Engel is hitting just .236 with just four hits in the entire postseason.

"It's so critical," hitting coach Chris Lemonis said of Engel getting on base. "We just need to get him on base and get a run. That would be so key for us."

Engel does have a .368 on-base percentage and has 41 stolen bases.

A FEW LEFTOVERS

**U of L lost the coin flip and will be the visiting team.

**In their first trip to the World Series in 2007, the Cardinals lost 15-10 to Rice only to then take out Mississippi State 12-4.

**U of L is second in the nation in stolen bases with 150. The school record for most stolen bases in a season is 153 set in '07.

**The Cardinals have allowed two or fewer runs in 35 of 63 games this season and are 46-0 after leading in the eighth inning.

**Louisville and Oregon State have never met in baseball.

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