Stay tuned for a LIVE blog of the Louisville vs. Rice baseball game from Omaha. Louisville will be the visitor, with the same lineup it used during the Super Regional:
Boomer Whiting – CF, Logan Johnson – 2B, Daniel Burton – 1B, Isaiah Howes – LF, Jorge Castillo – DH, Chris Dominguez – 3B, Pete Rodriguez – RF, Derrick Alfonso – C, Chris Cates – SS. Zack Pitts, the righthander from E-town, will start on the mound. Freshman righthander Ryan Berry starts for the Owls.
Posted at 1:43 p.m.
On ESPN2’s broadcast, Gary Thorne is your host. Robin Ventura, who played here for Oklahoma State in the CWS (in the actual series that I attended as the editor of the game program in the ’80s) will do the color. Louisville is wearing its black jerseys with a big white “L.” Rice is in white jerseys. Perfect weather.
They’re doing a feature on Joe Savery, Rice’s first baseman and a high draft choice. Rice’s Berry, the freshman starter, wears glasses. First pitch at 2:09 hits Boomer. He’s on first. After ball 2, Rice catcher makes a mound visit. Johnson flies to right. Ventura says Louisville needs to stay loose and aggressive at the plate. Boomer going, but the pitch hits Burton on the arm. They’re talking about how Cards are willing to take pitches to the body.
A mound visit from the Rice dugout. Two on for Howes. Langwell already up in the Rice bullpen. Howes struck out on a ball in the dirt. Two out. Castillo singles up the middle, Whiting scores and Louisville leads 1-0, Burton at 2nd. Dominguez goes down swinging. One run, one hit, two Hit by Pitch, two left. Cards take a lead!
posted at 2:18
Bottom of 1: Shortstop Brian Friday leads off against Pitts. Hits first pitch deep to left for a double. Lefty Gayhart pops the first pitch high to left, Howes has it. Pitts and Cates try to pick Friday off. Pitts gets the next guy looking. 2 down. NOTE: first mention of Cates being the shortest guy in college baseball. Pitts gets Savery, the 1st round draft choice, swinging. 2 Ks, 1 hit for Pitts. 1-0 Cards after 1.
posted at 2:27
Cards, top of the 2nd: Good look at McDonnell, Ventura talking about Louisville’s super regional performance and the Louisville fans in Omaha. Rodriguez hits 1st pitch to left for a solid single. Alfonso’s perfect bunt gets Rodriguez to 2nd with 1 out. Man, these guys don’t waste any time, hitting a lot of 1st pitches. Rodriguez to 3rd on a wild pitch — aggressive move. Cates can squeeze him, watch for it, infield is in. With a full count, Cates hits a soft grounder to short, scoring Rodriguez. Cards up 2-0. Boomer attempts a bunt at 0-1, then ends a 9-pitch at-bat with a one-hop double over the fence in left. Rice coach visits Berry again. Johnson, on 1st pitch, grounds out to 2nd. Another run, 2 hits, none left. Cards up 2-0.
posted at 2:38
Bottom of 2nd: Lehmann, the catcher, leading off – hit in the back on a 1-2 pitch. Seastrunk, a freshman, pops out in foul territory at Dominguez at 3rd. Luna tries to check his swing, another K for Pitts. Buenger, the DH, singles up the middle, Lehmann stops at 2nd. Just under Pitts’ glove. Popup to Cates end the threat. No runs, 1 hit, 2 left – still 2-0 Cards.
posted at 2:46 p.m.
Top of the 3rd: Burton leading off, smacks 2nd pitch to center for a single. Leadoff man is on in 1st 3 innings. Howes hits one up the middle, but 2b Luna dives and gets it, flips to 2nd to get Burton at 2nd. Howes on 1st, 1 down. Castillo bloops a single to short right, it falls. Another 1st pitch swing. That’s one’s gone. Dominguez hits a shot over the left field wall – a liner into the 4th row. Cards up 5-0. It’s looking a lot like last weekend for the Cards. Amazing aggressiveness from the Cards has Thorne and Ventura in awe. Again, Rice manager is out to the mound.
Rice had given up 5 runs in its previous 8 games, and the Cards have matched that in 3 innings. Rodriguez strikes out swinging. Alfonso pulls one past 3rd for a double, the Cards’ 4th hit of the inning. That’s it for Berry. PITCHING CHANGE – Right-hander Matt Langwell on. Berry got 8 outs, giving up 5 runs, all earned. He was their best on this pitching-rich team. Langwell gets Cates, who hits the 1st pitch to deep center which Henley misjudged, then ran back and made a pretty good play. For the inning, 3 runs, 4 hits, 1 left. Cards 5, Rice 0.
posted at 3:00
Bottom of 3rd: Pitts faces Friday and top of the order. Great catch in foul territory by Rodriguez in right. Slid right on front of a bench out there. Gayhart hits a hard single past Cates. Henley pops a grounder through the hole where Johnson was shading up the middle, Gayhart stops at 2nd. Their big guy, Savory, with a full count, hits one to deep center — there’s a SportsCenter highlight – Whiting gets it against the wall. He left a mark, Ventura called him the fastest guy in the country. 2 down. Gayhart goes to 3rd. Pitching coach Williams visits Pitts. Rice was shut out in its last 2 CWS games last year, Cards trying to extend the streak. Lehmann ends the scoring draught with a single to right center, scoring Gayhart. It’s 5-1. Seastrunk slides one past Johnson into right, scoring Henley with the 2nd run. It’s 5-2, runners at 1st and 3rd. Rice back in it. Luna lines another RBI single, to center. and it’s 5-3. Buenger, 8th to bat in the 3rd, hits yet another RBI single, right between Burton and Johnson. It’s 5-4. Pitts needs an out, with the tying run at 3rd. Logdson getting loose in the Cards’ pen. Dumb move by Rice, attmepting a double steal. Got the guy at 3rd on a 2-4-2-5-2-6 putout. For the inning – 4 runs, 6 hits, 1 left. Louisville 5, Rice 4 after 3.
Posted at 3:19
Top of the 4th. Boomer up, top of the order. Walked him on 5 pitches. He’ll be looking to go, he leads NCAA in stolen bases. Goes on 1st pitch, Lehmann makes a great throw, he’s out. Johnson pops one deep to right, HOME RUN! It’s 6-4. Burton pops out to short. Solid single to left for Howes. A walk to Castillo. Dominguez, on 1st pitch, fouls out to 1st. 1 run, 2 hits, 2 left. Cards up 6-4.
posted at 3:28
Bottom of the 4th: Dodson fouls out to Burton at 1st. Friday singles between short and 3rd. Pitts up to 58 pitches. Logsdon up again in the pen. Runner goes on the 2-2, but Gayhart flies to left. Henley flies out to Boomer in center. Good inning for Pitts. 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 left. Cards up 6-4.
posted at 3:39
The top of the 5th: Pete hits a one-hopper to 3rd on the 1st pitch. 1 out. Alfonso hits one up the middle. Ventura can’t quit talking about Louisville style of play “They swing at everything. They’re not making the pitcher work.” Cates hits one past the left fielder to the wall in left. Looks like Alfonso will score, but he gets sent back. Double for Cates. Boomer up with 1 out, 2 on. Sideline report on Cates — the joke about mowing the grass so the SS can see. Funny stuff. Pickoff attempt by Langwell to 3rd. Boomer’s OBP: .468. He smacks a 2-run single to center, scoring Alfonso and Cates. Makes the decision to hold Alfonso at 3rd look good. It’s 8-4 Cards. Rice coach visits Langwell…He’s gone. New pitcher is Scott Lonergan. Johnson greets him with a shot that looks just like his other homer. Wow! It’s 10-4. Burton strikes out swinging, but Rice seems humbled. Howes singles. Rice has never given up 3 HRs in a game. The stats just keep coming. Howes gets to 2nd on a wild pitch. Castillo up, flies to center. Cards up 10-4.
Posted at 3:57
Bottom of the 5th: Savery, their best hitter, flies to left, Howes has it. Lehmann singles just past Dominguez at 3rd. Seastrunk, a lefty, lines a shot to left. Howes’ throw to 3rd almost gets Lehmann. 1st and 3rd, 1 out, Luna hits a routine grounder to short, but Cates boots it. Lehmann scores, runners at 2nd and 3rd. McDonnell holds a team meeting on the mound. It’s 10-5. Some math formula ESPN made up says Cards have an 86 percent chance to win. Buenger hits a medium fly to Whiting, scoring Seastrunk to make it 10-6, with Luna at 3rd. Dodson doubles off the left field wall, scoring Luna, it’s 10-7. Looks like Pitts has had enough. Here comes McDonnell. Pitts leaves: 7 runs, 12 hits in 4 2/3 innings. Gavin Logsdon, sophomore lefty from Grayson County, is in. He’ll face Friday with 2 out, runner on 2nd. He lines out to Cates. 3 runs, 3 hits, 1 costly error, 1 left. At the end of 5, it’s 10-7.
Posted at 4:13
Top 6th: Lots of offense. Dominguez leads off, hit by the 1st pitch from Lonergan. Good stat: Cards have 30 runs in their last 13 innings. Dominguez going on a 1-2 pitch is thrown out. McDonnell argues the call, saying the 2B Luna blocked his path. Ventura says you can’t do that, but the call stands. Rodriguez strikes out swinging. ESPN audio is good – ump says he didn’t block the bag. Alfonso flies to deep left. First time in the game — 3 up, 3 down. Cards lead 10-7.
posted at 4:20
Bottom 6th: Logsdon pitching for Cards, to face pinch-hitter Lembeck in the 2 spot. Warning track fly to Whiting for out 1. Rice coach Graham is 71 and looks it. Henley lines out to Cates. Nice play. Savery, 0 for 3, homers to right center to make it 10-8 Cards. Win probability down to 78 percent, ESPN says. Lehmann hits a one-hopper to Dominguez to end the inning. Cards lead, 10-8.
posted at 4:29
Top 7th: If you’re reading this during the game, thanks for boosting the blog’s stats. Chris Cates leads off for the Cards, needing to get back on the scoring track. They scored in each of the first 5, blanked in the 6th. Full count, caught looking. Close pitch, looked low to me, but Cates has a low strike zone. Boomer hit by the pitch, but ump says he stuck his elbow out and won’t give him the pitch. I can’t believe he called that pitch a strike at 3-0. Clearly inside. On a full count, Whiting hits a foul down 3rd, shortstop Friday makes a tough play to get it. Johnson nearly gets his 3rd homer, caught at the right field wall by Lembeck. Bummer. 3 up, 3 down. Still 10-8 Cards.
posted at 4:38
Bottom 7th: Things seem to be settling down a bit, but Logsdon needs to hold ’em this inning. Hollander warming up for the Cards. Seastrunk strikes out. Oops. Long homer to left by Luna and it’s a one-run game. Here comes McDonnell, and we’ll get a new pitcher. Kyle Hollander is the senior transfer from Oklahoma State. He gets Buenger, a switch-hitter who’s 2 for 2 with a sac fly. Struck him out on a checked swing. Hollander looks good. has a chance to save the game here. Then he throws one in the dirt. Ground ball to 3rd, Dominguez boots it for the Cards’ 2nd error. Let’s hope this one doesn’t cost the Cards with the top of the order coming up. Hollander throws one in the dirt, Buenger goes to 2nd. Whiting makes a good play coming in, getting Friday to end the inning. Cards still up, 10-9.
posted at 4:53
Top of the 8th: Burton leads off. Each team has 14 hits. New pitcher is a lefty, Bobby Bramhall, who leads Rice in appearances. Good at-bat, battles for a walk. Good start. Howes hits a grounder sharply to Seastrunk at 3rd. He fields it awkwardly, then gets Burton at 2nd. Howes beats the throw to 1st. 1 out. Castillo hits one just over the head of right-fielder Lembeck for a double, Howes holds at 3rd. They’re putting Dominguez on to load the bases. It’ll be up to Rodriguez. On a full count, Pete swings and misses. Ouch. 2 down for Alfonso. He lines to left. That hurts. No runs, 1 hit, 3 left. Cards up 10-9, Six outs to go.
Posted at 5:06
Bottom, 8th: Pitching for the Cards is Trystan Magnuson (Manual H.S.) to try and close Rice down. He gives up a leadoff single to right to Lembeck. They’re talking about how Magnuson got cut twice at Manual. Henley puts down a perfect bunt down 3rd and beats Dominguez’ throw. The tying run is at 2nd with no outs and Rice’s best hitter up. Cards play in at 1st and 3rd. Savery hits a strong single to left, scoring Lemback and tying the score at 10. Coach Williams visits the mound, leaves Magnuson in. Lehmann up, looks like he wants to bunt. The new probability stat shows Rice with a 78 percent chance to win. Lehmann fails to get the bunt down and has 2 strikes. A double in the gap, scoring Henley to put Rice up 11-10. Savery stops at 3rd. Nobody out, 2nd and 3rd. Cards in big trouble. Seastrunk up, dribbles a grounder to 2nd, runners hold, 1 out. Intentional walk to Luna, who homered last time. That’s bring up Buenger, who’s 2 for 3. Cards need a DP. Full count – Buenger, fly ball deep, sac fly scores Savery. Cards almost get Lehmann at 3rd. But it’s 12-10. 2 out. Dodson up, 1st and 3rd. A shot in the gap scores Lehmann and Luna. Double for Dodson. Now it’s 14-10. Magnuson is fooling no one. 5 runs in the inning.
Friday hits a routine grounder, but Cates’ throw is wide, runner is safe. Dodson at 3rd. Close call, another that goes against the Cards. Rice’s win probability is 99 percent. They’ve scored 10 straight since it was 10-4. Cards are falling apart. Lembeck hits a grounder past Dominguez, scoring Dodson, before Friday runs into the 3rd out. A 6-run 8th. Cards seem done at 15-10.
posted at 5:31
Top 9th: 3 outs left. Cates up. Bramwell still pitching. Cates down swinging. Cards haven’t scored since the 5th and have only 1 hit. Boomer draws a walk. Johnson grounds out to 1st, Whiting to 2nd. 2 down. Burton’s fly to the left field warning track is caught, and that’s it at 5:38. Tough loss for Louisville, blowing leads of 5-1 and 10-4.