LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It was a regular season record breaking crowd of 5,056 at Jim Patterson Stadium Tuesday, as the Louisville Cardinals (35-10) defeated the Kentucky Wildcats (25-18) in a 10-inning Battle of the Bluegrass by the score of 2-1.
Louisville sophomore Nick Solak extended his consecutive-game hitting streak to 20, as he knocked in sophomore Logan Taylor for the game tying run in the ninth inning, and freshman Blake Tiberi knocked in senior Mike White for the game winning run in the tenth inning, as the Cardinals broke through a tough Kentucky pitching effort to win in walk-off fashion.
“Pitching and defense kept us in the game and their pitching and defense kept them in the game,” Louisville Head Coach Dan McDonnell said. “I know they feel good with the way they pitched and the way they defended, and fortunately we were able to come away with one more run.”
Wildcat starting pitcher Logan Salow, a left-hander, pitched four innings of one-hit baseball, striking out three batters, and only walked one as LHP Dylan Dwyer worked 4.0 innings relinquishing just one run, and striking out three Cardinals while walking two.
The Cats plated a run in the third inning when sophomore Connor Heady singled down the right field line, to start off the frame, and was then eventually brought home when freshman first baseman Evan White singled through the left side to put the Cats in front 1-0.
The game stayed a pitchers dual, as Louisville RHP Sean Leland pitched a solid game working 7.0 innings and giving up six hits while permitting just the one run.
Finally, in the bottom of the ninth the Cards punched through a stingy Kentucky bullpen when junior Danny Rosenbaum drew a 3-2 walk and Taylor came to the bag to pinch run. Then senior Sutton Whiting placed a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher and Taylor advanced to second base.
Taylor then stole third base, and Solak took the next at-bat and singled to right field on a 2-1 pitch to send Taylor home to tie the game 1-1.
“Coach gave me the head nod and just told me he had confidence in me when I was out there,” Taylor said. “I just took off.”
After sophomore Zack Burdi held the Cats at bay in the top of the tenth, White – who has been involved in countless walk-off situations this year – singled to the shortstop and advanced to second on a throwing error by Heady.
“I was definitely ready to hit a fastball,” White said. “I felt like it was coming, like it was only a matter of time, just put a couple of hits together. We were able to rally together.”
Tiberi, pinch hitting for freshman Ryan Summers, then smoked a pea to center field to bring White home for the walk-off run.
“He threw me a good curve ball, I just stayed on it,” Tiberi said. “It’s not easy coming off the bench, I just tried to stay in the game and stay focused.”
Burdi picked up his third win of the season in 1.0 innings pitched.
RHP Zach Strecker, RHP Spencer Jack, and LHP Zach Logue all pitched in relief in what was an impressive performance overall by Kentucky on the mound.