University of Louisville junior ace Kyle Funkhouser struggled from the start and the Cardinals offense could never rally against a strong outing from Clemson starter Zack Erwin in the team's second game in pool play at the ACC Baseball Championship.
Just as they had the previous night, the Cardinals fell behind early. Clemson, which lost to Florida State on Wednesday, scored three in the first inning and plated two more in the second to grab a quick 5-1 lead. Clemson would add two more and win 7-2 to improve to 1-1 in pool play.
"I promise you, we’re trying to win the first inning, we’re not purposely falling behind," said U of L head coach Dan McDonnell. "But again, at least we’ve been there before so if it happens in the postseason, you know, we shouldn’t panic, we’ve just got to compete."
The Cardinals received an two-out RBI double from freshman Ryan Summers in the second inning, but were unable to add anymore, leaving a pair of runners on base in back-to-back innings.
Erwin scattered six hits over eight innings, striking out 11, to pick up the win for the Tigers.
"He’s a talented pitcher," said McDonnell. "[It] could have been a different game if we got a two out hit there in the second and just in the third, he did a good job, he kept us off balance."
Louisville is off from play on Thursday, but will get a practice session in and take in some of Friday's action. The Cardinals return to play on Saturday against Florida State at 11 a.m.. A U of L victory over the Seminoles would put the Cardinals in the ACC title game.
"We get a chance to practice," McDonnell said. "I mean, everybody enjoys watching these games. These games are fun. We’ve got a lot of respect for all the teams here and you feel like they’re all going to do damage in the postseason, so we’ll try to get a good practice tomorrow. I’m sure we’ll watch the games and then get a scouting report for Florida State. Like I told the guys in the outfield, it’s pretty simple; in the postseason, when you lose twice, you’re done."