--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
The temperature reached 28 degrees in Louisville, but the highly-ranked Cardinals baseball team returned to action Friday; starting a campaign they hope ends with winning the College World Series.
And they were good in their season opener. Louisville defeated the Ole Miss Rebels, 7-2, after a huge sixth inning. Here's a few reactions to the opening game:
Louisville scored four in the sixth, and three in the ninth to notch their first win of 2020. Some familiar faces had a big impact, along with some newcomers. In total, Louisville scored their seven runs on 11 hits, and only left one on base. Meanwhile, Cardinal pitching limited Rebel battes to just six hits.
Ole Miss also left more on base, and committed four errors.
Reid it and Weep
Perhaps the most used headline of last season. Junior Reid Detmers received a ton of honors in 2019, including a spot on the All-America First Team; ACC Pitcher of the Year; and Perfect Game Midseason National pitcher of the year, just to name a few.
He didn’t show any rust in his first outing of 2020. Detmers threw five innings of 1-run baseball. He struck out nine (in five innings), and only allowed three hits and two walks. Looking at the box score, Detmers was more effective than he was in 2019’s opening day (5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K).
Now, this is just one start. There are a ton of games left. 89 pitches is well under what Detmers is capable of (He threw 119 against East Carolina on 6/7/19), but you don’t want to rush into many innings so early in the season.
Still, seeing nine strikeouts in five innings is a nice touch.
Have a debut, Luke Brown
Former WKU Hilltopper and New York Yankee draftee Luke Brown played his first game in a Louisville uniform, and had a great opening outing. The junior returned to NCAA Division-I action Friday, and hit 2 for 4 with 1 walk and 2 runs scored.
Brown spent 2019 at John A. Logan College, a junior college where he earned NJCAA second-team All-America honors. In 2018, he started 39 games and posted a .369 batting average as a freshman for the Hilltoppers. The average ranked fifth in Conference-USA.
The Bowling Green native scored the first Cardinal run of 2020 in the top of the sixth. He led the inning off with a single to left, and scored on a Zach Britton double to left-center. The run was the first of a four-run inning that led Louisville to victory.
Brown may become a big part of this team.
Interesting ties between the teams
There are a few connections between Louisville and Ole Miss. Louisville infielder Ben Bianco is the son of Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco. Additionally, Dan McDonnell was an assistant under Bianco from 2001-2006. McDonnell and Bianco are both friends, and have been reported to talk as often as a couple of times a month.
Both aces also competed on the Team USA Collegiate National team in 2019. Detmers and Doug Nikhazy struck up a friendship during the time.
The Cardinals look to open 2020 with a 2-0 record tomorrow. Junior RHP Bobby Miller takes on So. RHP Gunnar Hoglund at 2:30 pm Saturday, and Louisville folk-hero RHP Luke Smith returns to action against RHP Derek Diamond at 1:00 pm Sunday. All games are on SEC Network+.
It may be cold out, but Summer is on the Horizon.