Louisville Ambushes East Carolina To Begin SupersColumns
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — “First time through the lineup, you could tell it was going to be really tough,” Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell said. “There’s a reason that guy is conference pitcher of the year.”
“That guy” was East Carolina southpaw ace Jake Agnos, a fourth round selection in this week’s MLB draft whose ERA had dipped below 2.00 after he carved up the Louisville lineup nine up, nine down. Agnos’ fastball was up to 95 mph as he struck out the side in the first inning. He cruised through the second inning on 12 pitches and then one-upped that with a 10-pitch third that ended with him striking out Justin Lavey looking.
And then everything fell apart for Agnos and the Pirates.
A four-run inning turned into a nine-run lead and then a blowout win Friday afternoon for Louisville in front of its home crowd at Jim Patterson Stadium. A contagion inhabited the Cardinals dugout, spreading from hitter to hitter, in a good way. The Cardinals matched the most runs they had scored for the entirety of any of their last six super regional appearances, putting up 14 runs on 18 hits — the most of both category in a super regional game since Louisville eliminated Oklahoma State in 2007 with a 20-2 drumming.
“Give a lot of credit to my hitters, they’re really good,” McDonnell said. “We faced a lot of tough lefthanded pitchers this last month, so we’ve got good hitters and just feel like they’re probably getting better.
Agnos was perfect through the first 10 batters. Then Logan Wyatt strolled to the plate. It became an at-bat of firsts. Agnos threw three straight wide of the zone for his first three-ball count. It was the first time he had fallen behind two hitters in an inning. Then Wyatt laced a 3-1 pitch into center field for a double, the first Louisville hit of the day. Fitzgerald followed by staying on a sweeping 1-1 breaking ball and ripping down the line and into the left field corner. Agnos issued his first walk to Alex Binelas (in four pitches). The Pirates starter fell behind Jake Snider and gave up a line drive single to right field that loaded the bases.
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