Cards struggles lead to defeat

OMAHA, Neb. - The University of Louisville struggled on the mound early and were unable to crack Indiana's Joey DeNato's pitching.

The University of Louisville entered the College World Series rated among the favorites to win the NCAA Championship by Baseball America, but no one informed Indiana that they weren't supposed to compete.

The Cardinals performance was strangely similar to their season-opener against Indiana, a 2-0 loss, as Indiana's Joey DeNato kept the U of L hitters confused. The difference between now and then, DeNato threw a complete game shutout, setting a new TD Ameritrade Park College World Series record with a pitch count reached 136.

Louisville's struggles came early on the mound and throughout the game at the plate. Louisville starter Chad Green (10-4) had a rough outing from the start, walking the games first batter. The junior completed just two innings, allowing 3 hits, 2 earned runs, while walking four. He was pulled in the top of the third inning after loading the bases with no outs.

"It wasn't like he was all over the place," said U of L head coach Dan McDonnell. "I thought the game came down to there were 3-2 counts in our favor and 3-2 counts in their favor. And to their credit, their guy just kept making those pitches when he was behind, when he had to. And unfortunately Chad just couldn't, whether he walked the guy or whatever, and it's just not like Chad at all."

The Cardinals difficulties weren't limited to Green's tough outing. Louisville managed just four hits, with only one for extra bases, and never really threatened at any point in the game.

"Clearly we couldn't put a good swing on him, even in a couple of positive counts," said McDonnell. "And like I said, I think 3-2 is a positive count for the hitter. We just couldn't put a good swing on them. Were we a little big, a little long, too many fly balls."

Despite multiple cases of reaching a hitters count at the plate, Louisville managed only seven base runners in the game.

"Unfortunately, we didn't get enough guys on," McDonnell explained. "I'm sure we'll figure it out, we'll count it up. There was a lot of three ball counts on our hitters. And we just couldn't win those at-bats. I think that's what was frustrating. It would be 3-0. Go 3-1, 3-2, and he would win the at-bat. Usually those are offensive counts. The advantage goes to the hitter. The batting average is in favor of the hitter. And we just couldn't win those counts."

Louisville also had two errors in the game and left five stranded on base.

Louisville (51-13) will face 3 seed Oregon State (50-12) on Monday at 3:00 pm. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

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