The rims at Ballard High School are still there – Barely – No thanks to Montrezl Harrell. Saturday evening, the Russ Smith Foundation and TBM hosted an event at Ballard High School to benefit the family of Officer Nick Rodman who died in the line of duty. The charity basketball event was headlined by former UofL players like Montrezl Harrell, Terrance Farley, Luke Whitehead & Perrin Johnson, who were on the Metro City Stars team. They faced off against a team of officers from the LMPD. The Metro Starts were coached by Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum and 2013 National champion, Peyton Siva. Paul Rogers was the announcer and CSZ’s own Jeremy Wahman was the celebrity time-keeper. Other people of interest on the Metro Stars team were Russ Smith Sr, Steven Rummage (93.9 The Ville radio personality), Phil Morrison (Asbury), Matt Brown (Program director -93.1 the best), Charles Franklin (Community Outreach director), Chris Pointer (UL/CSU) and organizer Tim Barnett (Nevada). The game was very friendly for a half. The LMPD officers took a 39-37 lead into halftime. In the second half things started heating up. There was a lot of trash talking as the game stayed very competitive. Highlighted by a few monster slams from Harrell and a few key free throws down the stretch, the Metro Stars pulled our a 81-75 victory. Read the rest of this entry
Another year, another brutal way for the Cardinal Nine’s season to end. After trailing 4-0 early, the Cardinals rally ended one run short, as TCU eliminated the Cardinals 4-3 on Thursday night in Omaha.
The loss eliminates Louisville (53-12) from the College World Series, matching their highest finish in the College World Series (5th/6th, 2007). TCU (49-17) will advance to face Florida tomorrow night, needing two wins against the Gators to advance to the Finals next week.
It was a game marred with a lot of controversy, with Louisville losing nearly every 50/50 call at the plate. The first came in a four-run second inning, where Stowers’ throw to home was not on time, allowing TCU to stay-alive with two outs and ultimately deliver the deciding runs.
The second thwarted U of L’s rally in the eighth inning. When Colby Fitch delivered a lead-off single in the inning, Ryan Summers came on to pinch-run. He was ruled out attempting to steal second base, but the replay almost seemingly confirmed he was safe. The call resulted in Brendan McKay striking out and ending the inning.
Head coach Dan McDonnell took exception to the call and was ejected for the first time since 2010. Despite the heated exchange, McDonnell was adamant that he won’t blame the umpires for the disputed calls.
“I fought for my guy,” McDonnell said. “Knowing the point in the game and how valuable that base was. But I’m never gonna stand behind the camera and blame an umpire. That’s not the reason we lost. I don’t know if I should have been thrown out, but that’s not my call to make … A lot of times you just read the body language of your guys, and you want to stick up for them.”
As any great leader normally, his sentiments were echoed through the players.
“Yeah, it’s obviously tough,” Brendan McKay said. “It’s the competitor in every athlete, you see a play that’s bang-bang and you obviously want it in your favor. I mean, there’s no robotic strike zone or sensors for the baseball and the glove and foot for touching the base or anything like that … you can’t fault anybody for that.”
Controversy aside, TCU rode a four-run second inning to victory. Nick Bennett, who earned his first start since the Regional round, had a perfect first inning and then got the first two batters out in the second.
After that, Bennett fell behind the count with two outs and never recovered. An RBI double from Connor Wanhanen gave TCU an early run, followed by a Ryan Merrill two-RBI double to push the lead to 3-0. Wanhanen narrowly made it home to beat the tag, but the subsequent review was unable to overturn the call. Austen Wade added an RBI single, but was tagged out trying to reach second to end the inning.
Wanhanen was the only TCU batter with multiple hits, while Ryan Merrill had the two-RBI that provided the deciding runs for the Horned Frogs. Austen Wade, Zach Humphreys, Cam Warner, Elliott Barzilli and Merrill were the only other TCU batters with hits.
Nick Lodolo, who made an appearance as a reliever in Sunday’s loss to Florida, got the nod as their starter. Lodolo finished with three earned runs on five hits, two of which came on lead-off home runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Sean Wymer was credited with the win, only allowing two hits while striking out five in the final 4.1 innings.
On Louisville’s end, Bennett’s day was over before the second inning ended. His loss marked the first in his brief career, allowing all four of TCU’s runs on three hits and two strikeouts. Despite the early deficit, Wolf, Sam Bordner and Lincoln Henzman combined for 6.1 shutout innings and only allowed four hits with two walks.
“I thought they (Wolf, Bordner, Henzman) were outstanding,” pitching coach Roger Williams said. “Those guys probably don’t get enough credit at times. And I guess we as coaches really appreciate that group’s probably been the backbone of a lot of success we’ve had this year.”
Louisville’s usually stout bullpen was one of the main reasons for their success. The bullpen finished 23-1 on the season, and closer Lincoln Henzman never blew a save in 2017.
McDonnell made dramatic changes in the batting lineup, moving Taylor from the 1-hole all the way to the eight spot and Mann from third to seventh. Josh Stowers, who started as the leadoff hitter for the first time since April 23rd, made the most of his opportunity. He landed a soft RBI single to left field in the third to get the Cardinals on the board.
Louisville’s next two innings would feature back-to-back leadoff home runs. McKay would lead off the fourth with his 18th home run of the season to right-center, while Logan Taylor blasted one to left field in the fifth. U of L was fired up after seeing the speedy senior launch his first home run of the season, but cooled off after Sean Wymer entered the game.
Wymer shut out the Cardinals in the final 4.1 innings, but U of L had opportunities to get the runs they desperately needed. Summers was ruled out in the eighth inning attempting to steal second, with the momentum parlaying into McKay’s strikeout that ended the inning. Devin Mann scored a two-out single in the ninth, but was for naught when Taylor grounded out to end the game.
Stowers lead all Cardinals with two hits, including a one-out double in the fifth. Devin Mann also had two hits on the day, while McKay and Taylor had U of L’s only two home runs.
For Louisville, it was a third straight season with an agonizing end to it. 2015 saw the Cardinals lose the series on a controversial home-run against Cal State Fullerton, while 2016 saw U of L lose the series on a walk-off grand slam.
“You try not to evaluate every pitch or play that happens, and you wanna recollect on the season and all the success and the joy these guys brought us,” McDonnell said. “I’ve had so much fun with this group, and I’m really proud of them.”
2017 may have been the latest brutal end to a successful season. But Dan McDonnell believes it was still a great season. After all, Louisville made their fourth trip to Omaha, earned their first number one ranking and won more games than any team in school history.
“We lost a few years (ago) on a controversial home run, and I never lost sleep blaming an umpire for that,” McDonnell said. “I still remember opportunities we missed that night like it was last night. So tonight, you just live with a couple of things you could have done better … I’m big on being accountable, and it starts with me. And if anything, it just motivates me to want to be a better coach, to work harder, and get ready for next year.”
With the 13th pick in the 2017 NBA draft, the Denver Nuggets select Donovan Mitchell from LOUISVILLE. Mitchell, a lottery pick, was then traded to Utah for the 24th pick and Trey Lyles. Mitchell played just 2 seasons at Louisville where he averaged 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists in his final collegiate season. He shot 35.4% from 3 and 45.6% from 2. The 6’3″ sophomore came into the draft projected as a late first-rounder, but through workouts he managed to climb his way into the lottery.
He also sported some great socks…
2017 NBA draft Green Room invitees
As you probably know by now, the NCAA came down hard on the Louisville Cardinals basketball program in the wake of the Andre McGee/Katina Powell sex scandal. The program faces the potential of getting 100+ wins vacated, as well as the 2012 Final Four and 2013 National Championship. Lost in the sanctions though, was the forfeiture of all conference revenue sharing gained from the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 NCAA postseasons. Also, “future revenue distributions that are scheduled to be provided to the university from those tournaments also must be withheld by the conference and forfeited to the NCAA“.
So essentially, UofL has to give up all the TV money they earned, and they have to give it up to the NCAA. They also have to give up any potential money they would earn in royalties from those 4 postseasons, and also give it up to the NCAA. Because, you know, the NCAA says those wins and title don’t exist anymore. So how can you make money off them? Well, that doesn’t seem to be a problem for them.
Huh, fancy that? The official locker room 2013 National Championship (which doesn’t exist, mind you) shirt has had a drastic price reduction from an official NCAA licensee. In fact, both Fanatics and CBS Sports have the same shirt listed with the same exact price reduction.
Purely coincidence, right?
This is just an addition to the long list of hypocrisies that the NCAA has committed over the years. Trying to figure out a way to still make money off a 4 year old event, that you ruled doesn’t even exist anymore? This is so shady that it’s almost brilliant.
Maybe I’ll go take a class at UNC about how to be as sleazy as them.
The following is a candid update letter, regarding the NCAA’s ruling, from Rick Pitino to members of “Friends of the Ville”, a philanthropy group managed by the university.
“June 21, 2017
Dear Friends of the Ville
I am writing to you as close supporters and Friends of the Ville members. You are special to me and I realize you have endured a lot over the last two years. When the news first came out in 2015, it sunk my emotions to the lowest point anyone could possibly imagine. I write this letter to tell you and encourage you to keep your spirits high.
What started as a pitcher’s duel ended up with Louisville blinking first. Singer delivered seven quality innings while striking out nine, as the Gators defeated Louisville 5-1.
Singer, who is listed as the top sophomore prospect on Perfect Game and Baseball America’s listings, showed his worth at the mound. The 6’5″ standout delivered a gem with seven innings, striking out nine and allowing one run on six hits. Louisville batters faced problems with Singer’s command all game long.
“Really, he’s got a tough angle,” Brendan McKay said. “And combined with the early shadows that we had … what I saw in the second inning was right when he released the ball that’s when the ball disappeared.”
“When you don’t have much to go off of, it’s tough no matter what,” McKay said.” “But he’s (Singer) got a funky little angle to him. He can spot up — obviously when you combine that with velocity and good offspeed pitches, as you see in any level, it’s tough to hit.”
The Russ Smith Foundation, TBM and Sullivan’s Tap House have teamed up to form a charity basketball event in honor of Officer Nick Rodman, who was killed in the line of duty this past March. The event will feature the Metro City Stars, a team comprised of former Louisville players and prominent local figures up against a team of members of the LMPD, and will be hosted by Ballard High School this upcoming Saturday, June 24th at 6:30.
Metro City Stars Roster:
Russ Smith, Sr.
Peyton Siva, Jr.
Prior to tomorrow’s matchup against the #3 Florida Gators, the #7 Louisville Cardinals took to the practice field, where Defensive Player of the Year Devin Hairston was mic’d up.
Couldn’t make the trip up to Omaha? Check out this short video with the sights and sounds of Louisville’s thrilling 8-4 victory over Texas A&M, as well as some of the pageantry surrounding the College World Series.
Following their 8-4 victory over Texas A&M in game 1 of the College World Series, the Louisville Baseball team speaks to the media.
A big day for Colby Fitch, batting 2-for-4 with four RBI, was the difference as the slugger powered Louisville to an 8-4 victory over Texas A&M.
The win marks only the second in school history, their previous victory a 12-4 decision over Mississippi State in 2007. It is also McDonnell’s first win when opening pool play in the College World Series.
The 2015-2016 Louisville Basketball season left fans of the program with broken hearts and dreams of next season. The fans also exited the college basketball season with a new motto that some “fans” seem to have forgotten, “I got your back.” That is all that could truly be held onto after Louisville’s season was cut short due to the self-imposed postseason ban by former-President, James Ramsey. The decision wasn’t popular, but after time to think and console ourselves, it became clear that the self-imposed punishment was the right thing to do, right? Wrong.
Earlier today on Twitter, Russ Smith became another one of the former UofL players to offer his thoughts on the NCAA’s harsh sanctions imposed on the University of Louisville.
He took to Twitter to talk about those who have actively cheered for UofL’s downfall. Read below:
(Click more for the rest of the story)
Even though the Cards don’t play their first game in the College World Series until tomorrow, play in Omaha began today, with Oregon State coming from behind to defeat Cal State Fullerton. Florida State and LSU will face off tonight in the Saturday nightcap.
However, the CWS can be confusing. Many look at the teams and think:
“Who plays who?”
“Who does UofL play?”
“This team lost, are they still in?”
Well I will break it down for you. The College World Series consists of two 4 team double-elimination brackets, with the winner of each bracket facing off in a best-of-three series to determine the champion. Basically, each bracket acts like how the Regionals round works, and the CWS Final acts like how the Super Regional round works.
Oregon State vs. Cal St. Fullerton
Florida State vs. LSU
Louisville vs. Texas A&M
TCU vs. Florida
I’ll use bracket 1 for example. At the time of this post, Oregon State defeated Cal St. Fullerton and LSU defeated. Oregon State will go on to face LSU, and Cal St. Fullerton will face FSU. Since the loser of the Cal St. Fullerton vs FSU game will have two losses, that team will be eliminated. It is a de facto elimination game.
The winner of the elimantion game will then face the loser of the Oregon State vs. LSU game, in yet another elimination game. Once that game has concluded, there will only be two teams left in the bracket, with one team having one loss and the other having none. Those two teams play either one or two games until one of the teams is eliminated.
If that sounds too confusing, essentially, the teams in each bracket play until 3 of the 4 teams have two losses. Once a team reaches 2 losses, they are done in Omaha and will play no more baseball.
Once there has been winner declared in both brackets, those two teams will face off in a best-of-three series in the College World Series Championship.
In case you haven’t been paying attention to the red-hot Louisville Cardinals baseball team (which you should have) this postseason, you’ve probably noticed that all of the players have suddenly dyed their hair blonde. This also includes head coach Dan McDonnell, as pictured above. Why is that? Well, relief pitcher Jake Sparger decided to go around the team and talk to them about the change in hairdos.
Following Brendan McKay and Lincoln Henzman winning the Dick Howser Trophy and Stopper Of The Year award respectively, both players speak to the media and are presented with their awards.
Prior to their game against Texas A&M tomorrow in the College World Series, UofL closing pitcher Lincoln Henzman was awarded the Stopper Of The Year award by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association this afternoon. Henzman is the second Cardinal to win the award (Nick Burdi, 2014), and his 16 saves rank #2 in all of Division I baseball.
Construction work on the stadium began at the end of the regular season in late November. The first phase of the project which will be the seating structure for the interior bowl, will be in place but not completed for the beginning of the 2017 football season. Phase 2 will begin Jan. 1, 2018. The second phase will be the renovations to the Howard Schnellenberger team complex, which will include 100,000 square feet of space that will double the size of the team’s weight room and conditioning center. The tentative completion goal for the whole project was the 2019 season but faster than expected fundraising has moved the completion date up to the start of the 2018 season. The Cards open the 2018 season in Orlando against Alabama, so it appears the first game in the newly renovated PJCS will be on Saturday September 8th against the Indiana State Sycamores (AKA sacrificial lambs). Of course that is subject to change.
Enjoy some of the photos of the progress below – Read the rest of this entry