Jimmy Herget was magnificent in a complete game 2-1 victory over the #1 seeded (and #5 nationally) Louisville Cardinals on Friday at the AAC Championships. In a season where the Bulls have struggled to get clutch hits and hold slim leads, they had all the breaks fall their way today and grinded out a win to keep their season alive.
Herget was his usual awesome, which meant 9IP, 6H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 6K in just 106 pitches. UL's lone score came in the top of the first on an RBI single by AAC Player Of The Year Jeff Gardner, but then Herget faced just four over the minimum in his last eight innings of work. The Bulls ace saw his ERA fall to 1.24 for the season, and was able to dial it up and get big strikeouts when needed.
The Bulls got two clutch hits from Kyle Teaf and Luke Borders for RBI's in the third and fourth innings respectively. They were the type of singles USF has been missing all season, but they got them when needed.
USF caught a couple of breaks as well; a fly ball by UL's Zach Lucas to lead off the eighth was caught at the top of the wall by left fielder Buddy Putnam. Grant Kay led off the ninth with a hit (the same batter that hit a solo home run off Herget on May 3rd to tie the game at 2-2 in the ninth), but was caught stealing second on the first pitch by Luke Borders. Kay was 21 of 23 on stolen base attempts this season, and even some Bulls fans thought he might have beat the tag. Herget threw a wild pitch while issuing an intentional walk to move Cole Sturgeon to third with two outs in the eighth, but managed to get out of trouble with a strikeout. For a team that's not gotten a break all year, they caught them all at the right time.
Now sets up one interesting day tomorrow in Clearwater. All four teams in Pool A are 1-1, so each team not only needs to win tomorrow, they also need the right team to win the other game. Louisville will play Rutgers at 3pm, and USF will play Memphis at 7pm.
Here are the scenarios for each team to win Pool A:
USF: Beat Memphis, needs Louisville to beat Rutgers
Rutgers: Beat Louisville, needs USF to beat Memphis
Louisville: Beat Rutgers, needs Memphis to beat USF
Memphis: Beat USF, needs Rutgers to beat Louisville
Who said pool play wasn't any fun??
It'll be a great day at Bright House Field tomorrow, so come get a huge bucket of margarita ($16, $18 for the good stuff) at the tiki bar, pick up a Delco's cheesesteak behind home plate, and enjoy some baseball. We'll be on the broadcast with Josh Appel at 7pm on 88.5 HD2 again, and you can listen here.