The Division I baseball national championship is set with underdog Michigan set to take on powerhouse Vanderbilt. Vandy gets to the title game by virtue of a ninth-inning rally on Saturday night with its back against the wall. It actually came after Louisville starter Luke Smith — who put together a gem before this — had a viral moment.
After striking out Julian Infante to end the top of the eighth, Smith yelled “f— you” twice in the general direction of Vanderbilt’s dugout.
“That was the big turning point in the game,” Vanderbilt DH Philip Clarke said, via the Tennessean. “Things like that definitely fire us up.”
Sure enough, Smith recorded an out in the ninth before JJ Bleday walked and Ethan Paul doubled home the tying run. Smith was removed, but his go-ahead run would score on Pat DeMarco’s double. Vanderbilt would prevail and advance.
For his part, Smith came off like a good sport after the game:
“I love that part of baseball,” said Smith (6-1), who allowed three runs in 8⅓ innings in his first loss this season. “When they got their big hit in the ninth, they celebrate. That’s how it goes. When I strike somebody out, I celebrate, and that’s just the way it is.”
I guess my only point of contention is yelling “F— you” at the other team isn’t really a celebration, but to each his own. At least he didn’t complain about the other team celebrating after the game. He wore it. That’s good.
Smith’s final line was pretty darn good: 8 1/3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 10 K. It was an elimination game, too.
And now he’s a viral star for what some would deem all the wrong reasons. C’est la vie.