By Brad McGuffin —
Louisville baseball (24-8, 10-5) went into its toughest weekend series of the season on the road at Clemson (25-8, 12-4) looking to make a statement. Reid Detmers came into his Friday night start 5-1 with a 0.68 ERA and a 76-8 strikeout to walk ratio. Coming into his start, Detmers had also yet to have given up a home run.
Louisville was able to get an early lead in the top of the second inning with a Justin Lavey double. However, in the bottom of the third inning Clemson exploded with a three-run home run, the first home run Detmers had given up all year.
The very next pitch, Clemson hit its second home run to take a 4-1 lead. In the fifth inning, Clemson hit yet another homer and held on for a 5-1 win in game one.
Detmers had 10 strikeouts for the sixth time in eight starts, but the Tigers’ long balls and lack of Louisville offense gave Clemson the win.
On Saturday, Nick Bennett took the mound for the Cardinals looking to get Louisville back on track. Bennett (4-2) has been a solid number two pitcher for Louisville up to the midway point of the season. The first three innings were good for Bennett. But, the third through the fifth innings the Tigers piled on five runs. Much like Friday night, Louisville was not able to stop the bleeding with runs to counter Clemson.
Alex Binelas started a rally in the eighth inning with a single. Next up was Lucas Dunn, who had his first plate appearance since March 8th. Dunn found a 2-0 pitched he liked and hit it off the wall for a double, sending Binelas to third. Drew Campbell would bring Binelas home with a single, but that was all the Cardinals got in the eighth.
In the ninth inning, Louisville tacked on two more runs but fell 6-3 to give Clemson the series.
Coming into Sundays game, Louisville desperately needed to find a way to win to avoid being swept for the first time in eight years. The Cards wasted no time scoring early in the second inning with a Dunn single, bringing home Lavey. In the third, Zach Britton and Henry Davis used a pair of sacrifice fly’s to give Louisville a 3-0 lead. Clemson responded by tying the game in the bottom of the third inning.
Clemson was up 4-3 going into the seventh inning when Louisville tied the game with another sac fly from Tyler Fitzgerald. The score remained the same until the top of the 11th inning, when Louisville posted a huge three-run rally with home runs with Binelas and Campbell. This gave the Cardinals a 7-4 lead that they held for the win.
Louisville is back in action against North Kentucky on Tuesday, April 9 at 6 p.m. at Jim Patterson Stadium before going on the road again to play NC State.
You can follow the Louisville Cardinal on Twitter @thecardsports.
File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal