The University of Louisville's third trip to the College World Series has taken a similar path. Just as it did in 2007 against Rice and last year versus Indiana, U of L will have to compete out of the losers bracket after dropping it's opener 5-3 to rival Vanderbilt on Saturday night in Omaha.
Staring pitcher Kyle Funkhouser struggled with his control during his six innings of work. Averaging less only 0.52 walks during the season, the Cardinals junior righty gave up 6 free passes, along with two wild pitches and a balk.
A two-out walk issued to John Norwood, followed by a single by Ro Coleman and another walk to Karl Ellison, the Commodores had bases loaded and struck for the games first score on a wild pitch. A double by Dansby Swanson drove in two giving the home squad an early 3-0 lead.
Vanderbilt struck again in the fourth when Swanson connected for a two-out single up the middle. He scored on a triple by Bryan Reynolds. The Commodores scored 4 of their runs with two out.
"Coach has been saying it all year, two-out walks will kill you and that was the definition of it tonight," Funkhouser said afterward.
Despite his rough start, Funkhouser rebounded to allow the Cardinals to strike back. Louisville plated two in the top of the fifth when Omaha native Grant Kay led off the inning with a single and scored on a triple by Sutton Whiting. Whiting scored on on a fielders choice to pull within 4-2.
Louisville scored again in the seventh when Zach Lucas opened the inning with a single. After advancing to second on a groundout, Lucas scored on a two-out double by freshman Nick Solak.
Vanderbilt answered in the bottom of the seventh when a passed ball allowed Vince Conde to score from the third.
The Cardinals outhit the Commodores 9-7 and drop to 38-3 on the season when outhitting their opponents.
"I thought our hitters really competed, put a lot of good swings, and they made two really nice catches," said McDonnell.
Louisville will have a day off on Sunday and return to play on Monday afternoon at 3:00p.m. against Texas in an elimination game.