Louisville began play in the 2016 ACC Baseball Championship on Wednesday evening with a performance left many believing the Cardinals were destined to reach the title game for the first time in program history.
However, despite the impressive 9-5 win over Wake Forest to begin the postseason, the Cardinals struggled on Friday afternoon against Clemson, falling 5-3 to the Tigers to drop to 1-1 in ACC Pool B competition. The loss moves Louisville out of so-called drivers seat and now in need of some assistance for it to reach the league's title game on Sunday afternoon.
"Just got to learn from it," U of L head coach Dan McDonnell told Cardinal Authority following Friday's game. "This is NCAA baseball."
Clemson improves to 2-0 in Pool B, with the three other members - Louisville, Virginia and Wake Forest - of the group all suffering one loss through Friday's first game. Wake Forest faces Virginia in game two on Friday, with the Demon Deacons then facing Clemson on Saturday morning. Both are games that U of L will need the 10th-seeded Demon Deacons to pull off the upset for the opportunity to reach the Sunday's championship.
Wake Forest went 1-2 against both Virginia and Clemson during the regular season.
McDonnell instructed his players immediately following the Clemson loss that they need to remain focused on themselves and not keep track of the possible scenarios.
"If anything, we just hope to learn from it," he continued. "I told them in the outfield, we're not going to get caught up with scenarios, and all we can control is how well we come out and play tomorrow. Try to come out and play better tomorrow."
In addition to needing a pair of Wake Forest victories, Louisville will also need to defeat Virginia on Saturday evening. The Cardinals took two of three from the Cavaliers at Jim Patterson Stadium earlier this season.