Cards Blast East Carolina to take 1-0 Lead in Super Regional

Cards Blast East Carolina to take 1-0 Lead in Super Regional
Dan McDonnell at the 2017 College World Series (Source: Annie Moore/WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Courtesy: UofL Athletics) - In a game that started as a pitcher’s duel, the No. 7 national seed Louisville baseball team pounded its way to a 14-1 victory over No. 10 East Carolina on Friday in game one of the Louisville Super Regional at Jim Patterson Stadium.

Louisville (48-16) now holds a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series and needs just one victory to clinch its fifth College World Series appearance. The second game of the series has been moved up to noon ET on Saturday at Jim Patterson Stadium.

The 14 runs are the most in a NCAA Championship game for the Cardinals since defeating Ohio State 15-3 in the 2016 NCAA Louisville Regional. It is the most in a Super Regional since securing their first trip to the College World Series with a 20-2 victory over Oklahoma State in 2007.

Louisville also had 18 hits on the day, tying for the fourth-most in NCAA postseason history for the Cardinals.

“We played well today,” head coach Dan McDonnell said. “We got a great start from Reid, we made plays in the field, and offensively we had a good day.”

Friday’s contest featured the ACC and AAC Pitcher of the Year taking the ball opposite each other, and the game lived up to its billing early on. Reid Detmers stranded a pair in the first and the Cardinals were retired in order on strikeouts in the bottom half of the frame.

Following a perfect second inning for both teams, Detmers ran into trouble in the third. East Carolina (47-17) got runners to second and third with two away and the southpaw fell behind the next batter 3-0. However, Detmers battled his way back and got a strikeout to leave the runners put.

Louisville was unable to break through at the plate though, as the first 10 batters were retired without much threat. Logan Wyatt finally changed that in the fourth, lining a 3-1 pitch to the wall in right-centerfield for a one-out double and UofL’s first baserunner of the game. Tyler Fitzgerald followed with a double of his own three pitchers later to plate the opening run, and the Louisville offense never looked back.

Alex Binelas took a four-pitch walk and Jake Snider singled to load the bases. Danny Oriente then changed the complexion of the game with one swing, sending a groundball down the right field line and into the corner, bringing all three runners home and giving the Cardinals a 4-0 advantage.

After Detmers finished off his fifth scoreless inning of the day, the offense went back to work for the Cardinals. Fitzgerald singled home Lucas Dunn to stretch the lead to five and Snider doubled up against the wall in right to plate two more. Drew Campbell tacked on another run on a fielder’s choice and Justin Lavey capped the five-run frame with a single into left.

East Carolina retired the first 10 Louisville hitters on the day. Fourteen of the next 18 players to step to the plate reached between the fourth and fifth innings and the Cardinals held a 9-0 advantage after five.

Detmers (12-4) had more than enough to work with from there, with the only blemish in his outing coming on a solo home run in the sixth. The left-hander gave up just the one run in seven innings of work, allowing five hits and striking out six. The 12 wins move him into a tie for second place on Louisville’s single season chart, just one back of Kyle Funkhouser’s 13 in 2014. Detmers is also tied for sixth all-time at UofL with 231 career strikeouts.

The Cardinals kept adding on at the plate, getting a RBI triple from Binelas in the sixth as part of a three-run inning, and adding two more in the seventh on RBIs from Binelas and Snider.

Garrett Schmeltz made his postseason debut in relief of Detmers, closing out the game with a pair of scoreless innings.

Fitzgerald led the offensive attack on Friday, recording the first four-hit game of his career. The shortstop finished 4-for-5 with four runs scored and two RBIs. Dunn, Wyatt, Binelas, Snider, Oriente and Campbell each had multi-hit games as well. Snider and Oriente drove in three apiece and Binelas added two.

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