By Derek DeBurger

Louisville baseball’s so-so week ultimately ends in disappointment as they kick off ACC play.

A weekday trot with the Bisons…

Louisville had never beaten Lipscomb in four previous attempts. Tuesday’s game was back-and-forth to start, with the Cards and the Bisons trading leads through the early innings. Louisville gave up four runs in the top of the fourth inning, yet scored two in the bottom; they gave up two more runs through the fifth inning.

The Cards opened the game up at the bottom of the fifth, where they scored at least one run in each of the innings and held Lipscomb scoreless in the final four.

After pitching the final four innings, Will Koger would pick up his first win of the season in the 12-7 win.

Louisville quickly fell 5-0 through the first two innings of Wednesday’s match. Starter Carson Liggett would be pulled, leaving the Cardinals’ bullpen scrambling. By the middle of the fifth inning, Louisville found themselves down 6-1. gradually, they got back into the game, sending it into an extra inning off of an Eddie King Jr. single in the bottom of the ninth. In the 10th inning, JT Benson recorded a walk-off hit to send the winning run home.

Louisville would win 8-7, and take the weekday series 2-0.

…And a weekend with the Hokies

The Virginia Tech Hokies are a team that has currently exceeded expectations thus far into the season.

Friday’s game got off to a good start; Louisville scored three runs scored in the second inning (including a home run from Luke Napleton), and held the Hokies scoreless through the first three innings. Napleton cracked another homer in the fifth inning, and another in the eighth inning. Once starter Sebastian Gongora was pulled, the Hokies staged a slight comeback attempt, but the Cards were able to shut it down to hold on for the 9-6 win.

Not only did Napleton hit three home runs on Friday, but he was 3-for-3 on at-bats.

The Hokies made Saturday’s match tough, scoring two runs off a home run in the first inning, and three more runs in the fourth inning. Despite the 5-run lead, Louisville came storming out of the dugout in the bottom of the fourth, netting four scores of their own. The bullpen couldn’t stop the Hokies, however; They gave up seven runs over the next two innings. Louisville stopped the bleeding in the final three innings, but couldn’t muster enough from the bats to make a dent in the lead, and ultimately lost 6-12.

Sunday’s game was nothing but ugly for the Cards. The Hokies came out hot and scored seven runs through the first four innings, with starter Patrick Forbes being responsible for five. Forbes wasn’t the only pitcher with a bad game, as only Kaleb Corbett had a day worth bragging about, allowing no runs or hits in 2.2 innings pitched. The Cards only ended up with one run on the board, and that was only after falling behind 8-0. Louisville would lose 1-8.

Louisville lost the series 1-2.

Still a mystery

How good this team is and can be is still a complete mystery.

The Cards looked good picking up their first win in-conference but laid an egg in the final two games of the series. The bullpen may be improved from the start of the season, but there is still a worry about who will show up in relief and who will solidify themselves as the Sunday starter. Teams can be successful without three reliable starters, but the bats need to make up for it.

One of the surprising issues for the Cards has been the fielding. Louisville was expected to be an incredible defensive team outside of the pitching, and that just has not been the case. The Cards have had several games with multiple errors this season. It fortunately hasn’t cost the Cards yet, but inconsistent fielding is a ticking timebomb.

Louisville has the potential to be a potent offensive team, they just need to deliver when it matters most. For now, the Cards are 13-7 on the season and 1-2 in the ACC.

Photo Courtesy // Chris Carter, U of L Athletics