LOUISVILLE (AP) — Louisville scored three runs in the seventh inning, and the Cardinals topped Kentucky 4-1 in an NCAA regional championship game Sunday night to advance to the super regionals.
The start of the game was delayed 3 hours and 55 minutes because of inclement weather.
Kentucky’s Logan Salow, a reliever forced to start in the Wildcats’ fourth game in three days, pitched a career-high six innings and threw 94 pitches. But the Cardinals scored three runs off Sam Mahar, Salow’s replacement.
The Wildcats (37-25) had a runner on third with one out when pinch-hitter Kyle Barrett lined out and Thomas Bernal was thrown out trying to score from third to end the inning. Bernal was ejected for colliding with the catcher above the waist. In the top half of the inning, Bernal was covering home in a rundown, and Louisville’s Alex Chittenden collided with Bernal but was not ejected.
The incident nearly cleared both benches before the umpires and coaching staffs diffused the situation before any altercations.
Josh Rogers (3-3), who suffered two of his three losses to UK in 2014, turned in a gem for the Cardinals, working six innings, allowing just four hits and no walks, striking out five.
Louisville (48-15) got on the board first in the top of the third inning, after a second trip through the order. Shane Craine led off with a full-count walk, taking third on Sutton Whiting’s one-out double. After Cole Sturgeon was hit by a pitch, Nick Solak drove a single to rightfield, scoring Crain. Salow then induced an inning-ending double play to escape the jam.
Alex Chittenden and Corey Ray both drove in runs during the Cardinal’s three-run seventh.
Matt Reida’s ground out in the bottom of the seventh brought in Storm Wilson with Kentucky’s only run just before Bernal was thrown out at the plate after Barrett’s liner.
The loss ends UK’s 2014 season, which finished with the sixth-most wins in Kentucky history. UK’s NCAA Louisville Regional runner-up finish ties its best finish in program history, also done in 1988, 2006, 2008 and 2012. After falling to Kansas in the opener, 10-6, UK rallied to beat Kent State with four runs in the ninth, 4-2, before posting an 8-6 win over KU in an elimination game, earlier on Sunday.
In the win over Kansas, Jacob Moylan doubled in two runs as the Wildcats scored seven times in the first four innings.
Kentucky starter Zack Brown didn’t allow a run in the first five innings, but he coughed up a run and left the bases loaded without recording an out in the sixth before he was lifted for reliever Taylor Martin.
Kansas (35-36) sent the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth against closer Spencer Jack, but Jack struck out Michael Suiter and induced a fly out from Michael Tinsley to earn the save.