CRAWFORD | Louisville sends McClure into expected CWS pitching showdown with Florida
Against a Florida team known for its pitching and defense, Louisville will send junior Kade McClure to the mound looking to advance to within one win of the College World Series finals.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – When you get to this point in the College World Series, there’s little guesswork. When the University of Louisville faces Florida tonight at 7 p.m. in Omaha’s TD Ameritrade Park, runs will be at a premium.
Florida has one of the top pitching teams in the nation. The Gators have risen to a No. 2 ranking in the college baseball Rating Percentage Index with pitching and defense. Since losing to Wake Forest 8-6 in the second game of the NCAA Super Regional, they haven’t allowed a run. Their No. 1 starter is a first-round draft pick. Their No. 2 starter, Brady Singer, is expected to be a first-rounder next season. He’s 7-5 with a 3.25 earned run average this season.
Louisville will counter with Kade McClure. In his last outing, the sixth-round draft pick of the Chicago White Sox pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings against Kentucky, one of the best hitting teams in the nation. He’s 8-3 this season, 21-4 for his career and was named an All-American in 2016.
Not bad for a No. 2 option.
“He’s on our All-American wall,” U of L coach Dan McDonnell said after he held Kentucky in check. “These guys have done it.”
Now, they’ll have to do it in what you can argue is the biggest game in U of L baseball history. A victory puts them in a Friday night, prime-time showdown against the loser’s bracket winner with a chance to advance to the CWS Finals. A loss makes the road tougher, though not impossible. Regardless, Louisville is in the 1-0 vs. 1-0 game at the CWS for the first time in school history.
If you take a look at the live RPI, updated daily throughout the postseason, Florida is the No. 2 team overall and second-highest rated team left. Louisville is No. 5 overall, and the third-highest.
Fresh off his team’s win over TCU in the CWS opener on Sunday, Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan was asked what he knows about Louisville.
“I don’t know much of anything,” he said. “Other than (Brendan) McKay is the best player in the country. I know they’ve got a really good shortstop (Devin Hairston). I know they’ve got good pitching and they’re well-coached. . . . We’ll try to figure them out. But the bottom line comes down to Singer. Obviously we all have scouting reports on other teams. But it jut comes down to our guy on the mound. If he executes, we’ve got a chance. If he doesn’t, you know, we won’t be successful. I do know this: If Brady throws like he’s been throwing, he’s similar to (Florida No. 1 starter) Alex (Faedo). He’s been a little different the last couple of weeks, so we’ll see.”
In his start against Kentucky, Singer gave up three runs in seven innings in a 14-3 Gators’ in in the final series of the regular season for both teams.
McDonnell told reporters Monday that he expects a close game, and that he told his team that defense would be the key. The Cardinals will try to manufacture runs on offense, hoping to grab an early lead to put pressure on a Florida lineup not known for putting up big offensive numbers.
Louisville is 1-4 all-time against Florida, the last meeting coming in 2009. The Cardinals are 6-0 in NCAA Tournament play this season, and are 5-1 against SEC opponents. The winner moves to a Friday 8 p.m. game. The loser gets the winner of today’s 2 p.m. elimination game between TCU and Texas A&M. That game would be Thursday at 8 p.m.
Copyright 2017 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.