Behind seven strong innings on the mound from freshman Brendan McKay and 16 hits from the offense, No. 3 national seed Louisville avoided elimination and setup a winner-take-all NCAA Super Regional finale with Sunday’s 9-3 victory in game two at Jim Patterson Stadium.
The Cardinals (47-17) and Titans (38-23) will conclude their best-of-three series on Monday at 7 p.m., ET on ESPN2 with the winning side advancing to the 2015 College World Series in Omaha, Neb. Louisville will start sophomore lefty Josh Rogers (8-1, 3.53 ERA) on the mound in Monday’s finale, while freshman righty Connor Seabold (5-3, 2.92 ERA) will get the start for Cal State Fullerton.
General admission tickets for game three of the NCAA Super Regional at Jim Patterson Stadium are on sale and can be purchased online at GoCards.com or through the Louisville Cardinals Ticket Office located at Gate 2 of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on Monday at 9 a.m. Remaining tickets will be available at the Jim Patterson Stadium ticket windows starting at 4 p.m., ET on Monday.
McKay (Darlington, Pa.) finished with nine strikeouts and allowed just two runs while scattering eight hits in 7.0+ innings to earn the win and improve to 9-3 on the season. Sunday’s performance marked the seventh time this season the Collegiate Baseball newspaper Freshman of the Year has struck out eight or more in a single game.
Junior Danny Rosenbaum (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) was among four Cardinals with at least three hits on Sunday going 4-of-5 with a double and a run scored. Sophomore Logan Taylor (Lexington, Ky.) came off the bench and hit his first career home run while finishing 3-for-3 with three RBI, two runs scored and two stolen bases. Sophomore Corey Ray (Chicago, Ill.) drove in three runs and was 3-for-5 with a double, while freshman Devin Hairston (Lexington, Ky.) chipped in with three singles, two runs scored and one RBI.
The Cardinals struck first on Sunday plating a run in the second inning on when senior Zach Lucas (Louisville, Ky.) scored from third on a RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of freshman Colby Fitch (Rocheport, Mo.). Lucas started things with a leadoff single to left center and moved to third on a single to left by Rosenbaum before scoring on the chopper up the middle by Fitch, who outran the double-play attempt by the Titans.
Cal State Fullerton answered in the bottom of the second when Timmy Richards drove in Jerrod Bravo with a one-out RBI single up the middle to even the score at 1-1. The inning started with a leadoff walk to Bravo, who moved to second on a wild pitch before the single from Richards.
Louisville moved back ahead in the third inning on a two-out RBI single by Rosenbaum to score sophomore Nick Solak (Woodridge, Ill.) for the 2-1 edge. Solak led off the inning with a single to left off Titans starter John Gavin and moved to second on a single to center by Ray. After Gavin was replaced by righty reliever Chad Hockin, Rosenbaum sent the first offering of his at-bat into left field to drive Solak home.
The Cardinals put the game out of reach with a four-run sixth inning, the 18th time this season they have scored four or more in a single frame. Rosenbaum started it up with a double to right center and after moving to third on a wild pitch by Hockin, scored on a RBI single to left from Hairston.
Moments later, Taylor connected on a 1-0 pitch sending it over the left field wall for his first collegiate home run and a 5-1 advantage. Louisville added its final run in the inning on a RBI double by Ray to score Solak, who coaxed a two-out walk from Maxwell Gibbs earlier in the frame.
The Cardinals continued the scoring in the eighth inning with a two-run single to center by Ray to plate Taylor and senior Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa.). Taylor led off the inning with a single to left against righty Willie Kuhl. Following a walk to Whiting, Solak advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt before Ray sent a 1-1 pitch into shallow centerfield to plate two runs.
The Titans ended Louisville’s seven-run scoring stretch with a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth. Jake Jefferies plated the first run with a RBI sacrifice fly to left and Tanner Pinkston added a RBI double to left. Louisville’s final run of the day came in the ninth inning on a RBI single by Taylor to drive Hairston home.
Gavin was charged with the loss for the Titans and dropped to 7-3 on the season after allowing two runs on five hits in 2.1 innings. David Olmedo-Barrera led the way at the plate for Cal State Fullerton finishing 3-for-4 with a run scored.
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