The Louisville Cardinal Baseball emerged unscathed in the NCAA Regional it is hosting at Jim Patterson Stadium following a pitcher’s duel turned offensive in the late innings. The Cards won 6-4 over the Miami Hurricanes who are playing without their head coach Jim Morris who is recovering from an illness.
The game went 5 innings without a run as Louisville ace Jeff Thompson & Miami #1 Bryan Radziewski allowed few base runners as they marched through the line ups. Both teams were successful in creating some long at-bats which raised the pitch counts and helped in getting both hurlers off the mound and the teams into their bullpen. Radziewski did his work with a nasty breaking ball, and Thomspon almost entirely with his fastball. Both were effective.
UofL’s Jeff Thompson was the first to come off after a single & a hit batter set up Miami’s clean-up man for an RBI single. It looked like Jeff might survive to finish the 7th inning, but a first batter walk moved Coach Dan McDonnell out of the dugout and to Cody Ege. After a sacrifice bunt, Ege was pulled for normal #4 starter Kyle Funkhouser who would finish the inning.
The 7th inning though, is when the Cards went to work. Radziewski’s pitch count was also rising, and CoCo Johson found himself on first base after (surprise!) being hit by a pitch. Jeff Garnder then lined to first base and a fortunate bounce off the glove in Vandy’s favor prevented extra bases for CoCo and possibly Jeff. The next batter Radziewski loaded the bases after Cole Sturgeon was given 1st base after a controversial hit by pitch. In person it appeared that the ball hit Sturgeon’s hand, on TV it looks as it if grazed his helmet, cheek and then hand. The umpire initially ruled Sturgeon out as strike 3 while attempting to bunt and the call was changed and he was awarded first base.
After a Kyle Gibson fielder’s choice out, Zak Wasserman was walked allowing Jeff Gardner to score giving the Cards their first run of the game. Coach McDonnell then rolled the dice with Cole Sturgeon on 3rd base and Sutton Whiting at the plate with a sacrfice bases loaded bunt scoring Sturgeon.
At that point Radziewski was removed in favor Javi Salas who walked first batter Adam Engel, scoring Kyle Gibson with the bases loaded. Then 2nd baseman Nick Ratajczak hit a bases clearing double scoring Engel, Whiting, and Wasserman. From there the damage was done and the Cards led 6-1 headed into the 8th. Kyle Funkhouser walked Tyler Palmer and then had a strike out negated by catcher inference, followed by another walk to load the bases before Dan McDonnell elected to go with fire-baller Nick Burdi. Burdi allowed a run scoring sacrifice, and then a Brad Fieger single to clear the bases, but the 3 Hurricane runs would be all that Miami could muster against the Cardinal closer.
Louisville plays the Winner of the Elimination Game Oklahoma State vs. Miami (noon) at 4:00 Sunday at Jim Patterson Stadium. Tickets can be purchased through this link, by calling 502-852-5151, or at the ticket office for either session.
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