LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — All season, University of Louisville baseball coach Dan McDonnell has preached “clean baseball” above all else.

His team has harkened to that message. The Cardinals, in ACC play, have ranked fourth in the league in fielding percentage. In all games, through May 7, they led the nation in fewest hits allowed per nine innings (6.87), ranked sixth in team earned-run-average, eighth in strikeouts per nine innings and 30th in strikeout-to-walk ratio.

In a season in which the Cardinals surprised everyone — including their coach — by taking off to a 21-3 record in the ACC and a No. 2 national ranking, they did it largely behind their pitching and “clean” baseball.

But in the opener of the Cardinals' biggest home series of the season, against No. 7-ranked Florida State Friday night in Jim Patterson Stadium, they were anything but clean.

This game was a mess. Cardinal pitchers walked 11. They hit three batters. There were three wild pitches and a passed ball. Florida State strolled to a 13-4 win before a record home crowd of 6,138. 
Box score

The Seminoles scored 13 runs on only 10 hits. Leadoff hitter Josh Delph drew walks the last four times he came to the plate — just one shy of the school record for walks in a game.

Nine of Florida State's 13 runs came from players who reached base by being walked, being hit by a pitch or, in one case, reaching on an error. The Cardinals (38-12, 21-4 ACC) needed 214 pitches (from four pitchers) to get through this one.

The Seminoles (37-14, 17-8) jumped on starter Kyle Funkhouser for three runs in a 46-pitch first inning, then scored three more in the second to go up 6-0.

Florida State starter Boomer Biegalski won his third straight Friday night start against a ranked team, giving up just two runs in five innings.

“You get down 6-0 against their Friday guy, it's going to be an uphill battle and obviously it was,” Louisville coach Dan McDonnell said. “I thought we fought. We were competitive. But we just didn't play good enough, and obviously the bullpen couldn't hold it together. You chalk it up as a bad night at the ballpark. What were the highlights? It was a great crowd, great atmosphere. I apologize that we couldn't play better. The good thing is we get to come back tomorrow with a clean slate.”

U of L threatened to make things interesting in the middle innings. Funkhouser settled himself to pitch three straight scoreless innings and retired the last eight batters he faced before leaving after the fifth.

In their half of the sixth, the Cardinals led off with three straight hits to right field, singles by Nick Solak and Corey Ray and a double by Brendan McKay. That pulled them within 7-4, but Florida State added two more in the seventh and two in the eighth to pull away.

“Tonight's game was just one of those where things went our way,” Florida State coach Mike Martin said. “We needed a key hit. We got the key hit (a 2-RBI single) by (Chris) Marconcini in the first inning with an at-bat for the records, no doubt. Boomer pitched very well for five innings, held them right there. That obviously is a very good baseball team it just happened to go our way tonight.”

The Cardinals hope to get things going their way with a quick-turnaround. They'll face Florida State again on Saturday at 1 p.m. with the freshman, McKay (7-1, 1.81 ERA), going to the mound against FSU right-hander Mike Compton (3-1, 1.85).

Certainly, this wasn't a typical game for McDonnell's team.

“We said it's going to be life in this league, if you don't play good against good teams, you get your butt whipped. I said it before the year even started,” McDonnell said. “You've just got show your toughness. Tomorrow is a new day. You've got to come out ready to compete and show how tough you are.”

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