Number 1 seed Louisville fell to UConn 4-1 in the second round Friday morning, then lost to USF 6-2 in an elimination game. The regular-season co-champions, Louisville (39-20) now awaits to see if it will receive an at large NCAA Tournament bid.
After handling Pittsburgh 8-3 Thursday night in the opening round, Louisville, the league's top offensive team, couldn't muster enough offense against UConn pitcher Anthony Marzi, who allowed one unearned run on four hits, matching a season-low for the Cardinals. Marzi added five strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings.
That loss moved Louisville into the loser's bracket, meaning the Cardinals would have to win four games to win the title. But UofL'S Friday funk continued against the Bulls, who handed the Cardinals their second loss of the day eliminating them from the tournament. Alex Mendez' three-run home run in the fifth and Daniel Rockhold's two run shot in the ninth propelled USF into Saturday's semifinal.
The Cards started their two best pitchers Friday - Justin Amlung, the Big East Pitcher of the Year, against UConn, and Jared Ruxer, the Big East Rookie of the Year, against USF. The problem for Dan McDonnell's team? Offense, or lack thereof. Louisville will need to regain their offensive prowess for the NCAA's, assuming there's an at large invitation coming.
Friday's elimination marked the first time Louisville has not advanced to the semifinal round of the Big East Championship since joining the league prior to the 2006 season. Louisville is now 19-10 all-time in the Big East Championship.