June 9, 2013
Louisville Celebrates Omaha
By Gary Johnson
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
NASHVILLE, Tenn. –
Louisville ventured to Music City with hopes of upsetting
second-ranked Vanderbilt. That’s exactly what happened.
The Cardinals swept the Commodores in the
Nashville Super Regional after claiming a 2-1 victory on Sunday
afternoon to advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
"God is good," Louisville coach Dan McDonnell
said. "God is good. Those who know me know how much respect I
have for Vanderbilt, Tim Corbin, the coaching staff and their
players. I think this is three times in the last five years
we've had to battle and hopefully the NCAA will split us up one
day where we both can go to Omaha. They had an unbelievable
year, and it's a shame that only one of us can advance."
It was the first time all season the Commodores
lost back-to-back games. Vanderbilt just couldn't get its
offense in gear in the Super Regional, with Corbin mentioning
that it was like "driving a car with the parking break on."
"I want to congratulate Louisville, I think you
have to,” Corbin said. “They did what no other team has done to
Vanderbilt all year, which was come in and beat them twice.
That's a tall task for a team, especially with the gang we've
assembled. I thought they pitched very well. I think they just
held us down.”
McDonnell can't wait to get his team to Omaha and
he knows the Cardinal nation will be there to support the team.
"I think in 2007 when we went, we caught people
off guard, even our fan base,” he said. “I guess it's a little
disappointing LSU made it yesterday because I'm afraid their fan
base is going to take up all the hotels in Omaha, but I've been
saying it since our leadoff banquet in January, we're going to
represent. Our fans are going to represent and I think we're
going to give LSU a run for their money there in fan support."
Runs were hard to come by Sunday.
Vanderbilt loaded the bases with one out in the
top of the second inning but failed to push across a run.
Then, Louisville struck first in the bottom of
the second when Jeff Gardner walked, advanced to second off a
single by Kyle Gibson and scored on a single by Zak Wasserman.
The Cardinals went up 2-0 when Sutton Whiting ripped a RBI
single scoring Gibson.
The Cardinals threatened in the bottom of the
fourth, loading the bases with one out before hitting into a
6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Louisville starting right-hander Jeff
Thompson retired 10 of 11 batters in a span between the second
and fifth innings before Vandy lead-off hitter Tony Kemp hit a
single into left-center.
Vanderbilt cut the lead in half after designated
hitter Zander Wiel blasted a two-out, solo shot over the 35-foot
left-field wall in the top of the sixth inning.
Down to their last at-bat, the Commodores got a
one-out single from John Norwood then a two-out single from
Turner to put runners on first and third. But a strikeout by
Mike Yastrzemski ended the season for Vanderbilt.
"It's unfortunate," Corbin said about
Yastrzemski's last at-bat. “That may be the most unselfish
baseball player that I've ever been around. That's a tough one
to watch because that kid's different. I probably won't coach
too many more like him. I would've loved to have seen that go in
his direction. He deserved better than that, and it just didn't
Thompson (11-1), the Big East Pitcher of the
Year, got the win, throwing seven innings, allowing one run and
three hits with nine strikeouts and a pair of walks.
"I felt good the whole time; I was trying to get
Coach [Roger] Williams to let me keep going and I think it was
all adrenaline," Thompson said. "I was really all around the
zone the whole game, but later in the game they started swinging
at some pitches to help me out. I was 3-2 way too much and
that's why my pitch count was so high, but we ended up getting
Joe Filomeno, Kyle Funkhouser and Nick Burdi each
saw relief duty for Louisville with Cody Ege getting his first
save of the year.
Talented sophomore Tyler Beede (14-1) entered the
game undefeated on the year but only lasted 2.2 innings,
allowing two runs and five hits with three walks and two
strikeouts for the Commodores. Freshman Carson Fulmer took over
for Beede and threw 5.1 scoreless inning with two hits, two
walks and two strikeouts.
Wiel's home run paced Vandy at the plate.
Johnson was 2 for 2 to lead the winners at the
"Going into the game I was like, we're one win
away from going to Omaha,” said Coco Johnson, who went 2 for 2
for the Cardinals. “It hasn't really sunk in yet. I'm excited,
but later tonight when I'm sleeping in bed it will hit me. I'll
be 10 times happier than I am right now, but it's huge for the
team. This is what we talked about from Day 1 that I stepped on
campus, so it's exciting."