CWS: Cards prepared to bounce back

Rosenblatt Stadium

The Cardinals find themselves in a familiar situation as they prepare to face Mississippi State in their second game of the 2007 College World Series. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. (ET) with ESPN providing national television coverage.

Despite the difficult to swallow 15-10 loss against Rice in their opening game of the College World Series, the University of Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell reports that his players were relaxed and prepared well for Sunday afternoon's contest against Mississippi State.

"It was nice to get out there," said McDonnell. "We had a good, clean practice. The attitudes were great. Everyone enjoyed it and we had some fun out there. We worked on some fundamentals, got sharp and we're ready to play."

The Cardinals (46-23) are in a somewhat familiar situation heading into Sunday's win or go home game against the Bulldogs (38-21) of the SEC on Sunday. After falling to 11th-ranked Missouri in the second game of the Columbia Regional, the Cardinals responded with three straight wins, including two consecutive against Missouri to advance to the Super Regional.

"Without a doubt," McDonnell said of his team‘s ability to overcome the opening game loss. "Just you look at what we've done the last month of the season. Of course losing the game in the regional and we bounced back and then again losing that tough game on Saturday in the super regional."

It's also unprecedented that the opening day loser responds with a run to the College World Series title game.

"As I shared with my team, South Carolina lost the first game of the 2002 (College World Series) and made it all the way to the final game and then last year, everyone knows that Oregon State lost the first game of the tournament and then ended up winning the national championship. We're not trying to get ahead of ourselves, but we wouldn't be the first team. Someone is going to bounce back out of the losers bracket and play well - why not us."

Freshman All-American Justin Marks is expected to take the mound for the Cardinals on Sunday. Marks complied an 8-2 record, with a 2.54 ERA this season and in 99.1 innings pitched, the 6-foot-2, lefty has struck out 82.

"He's been consistent for us all year," McDonnell said. "As we've been saying, he's not really a freshman anymore."

Mississippi State righthander Chad Crosswhite is the scheduled starter for the Bulldogs, who lost to No.3 seed North Carolina in the Friday evening opener.

"It's not going to be an easy task for us," MSU head coach Ron Polk said on Saturday. "We hope it's not going to be an easy task for them."

First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. (ET) with ESPN providing national television coverage.

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