By Derek DeBurger

The Cards cap off another disappointing week with their ninth straight ACC-series loss.

A midweek bearcat brawl

The week started against the rival Cincinnati Bearcats. The game started as a shootout with each team scoring in each of the first three innings, resulting in a 5-5 tie. After starter Colton Hartman was pulled, the offense of the Bearcats dried up while the Cards just kept going. Louisville score three runs in the fourth and fifth innings—including a home run from Ryan McCoy—to ice the game. Both teams remained scoreless through the final four innings, giving Louisville an 11-5 win. Matt Klein and Zion Rose both ended the day batting 3-for-5, with Rose being just a home run away from hitting for the cycle.

A weekend with the Seminoles

The weekend series brought the No. 17 Florida State Seminoles. The Seminoles were the last remaining undefeated team in the country until their previous series against Clemson; regardless, they were still one of the hottest teams in the country heading into the match.

Thursday’s game started tight. Isaac Humphrey’s home run got the Cards on the scoreboard first in the top of the second inning. An error in the top of the third inning allowed the Cards to take a 2-0 lead. Louisville, however, had field troubles of their own as the Seminoles scored their first run on a throwing error. Everything came apart in the fifth inning as Sebastian Gongora loaded the bases with just one out. Gongora was pulled, and two pitches later FSU hit a grand slam to take a four-run lead. Louisville would get one more run in the top of the sixth, but the offense didn’t show up enough to make it a game.

Louisville ultimately lost 3-8.

Friday’s game got out to a much better start, one that the Cards have been more used to this season. Louisville scored five runs in the first five innings, taking major advantage of FSU’s mistakes with four of the five runs being unearned off of errors. On the mound, the Cards looked dominant for the first half of the game. Starter Evan Webster threw six scoreless innings. Tucker Biven got in the game in the seventh inning and only gave up one run on his way to the first save of his career.

The Cards would win 5-2.

Sunday’s game began as manageable. Despite giving up a run in the bottom of the first inning, the Cards took the 2-1 lead with runs in the second and third innings. A two-run home run in the bottom of the third put FSU back up by one, but the Cards went right back and tied the game in the top of the fourth inning. FSU’s two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth pushed them up 3-5, and the next couple of innings were silent.

In the seventh inning, the Seminoles pushed their lead to five, including one allowed off a fielding error. Louisville would score one more run in the top of the eighth inning, but it would not be enough to stage a comeback. The Cards would lose 4-9.

Louisville lost the series 1-2.

Headed to dire straits

The time to save the season is quickly approaching, and the Cards still suffer from many of the same problems that they displayed in their opening series in Tampa Bay. The pitching is the biggest issue; it has been extremely inconsistent from player to player. Jake Karaba looked fantastic to start the season, but his play has fallen precipitously recently. Riley Phillips has looked amazing in spots but gave up five runs during his start against FSU.

The fielding continues to be a major issue that nobody was expecting before the start of the season. Louisville had a total of five errors in their series against the Seminoles, most of them leading to runs. The pitching is not reliable enough for this team to lack elsewhere defensively.

During head coach Dan McDonnell’s tenure, the Cards have been known to be able to erase a deficit. This year’s team has not shown any ability to stage a late-inning comeback. The lack of success could likely be attributed to an expectation to lose conference series as the Cards have now dropped nine straight going back to last season. A series win would go a long way for the psyche of this Louisville team, but the schedule ahead is brutal.

The Cards are now 17-11 on the season and 3-6 in the ACC.

Photo Courtesy // Chris Carter, U of L Athletics