The Kentucky collegiate season came it an end Monday when No. 9 University of Louisville failed to complete two different late comebacks and lost 3-2 on a suicide squeeze from Vanderbilt in the bottom of the tenth inning. The loss ended UofL’s NCAA tournament run just shy of the super regional. The Cards were held scoreless for the first six innings before tieing the game for the first time with a single run in the top of the seventh.
Vanderbilt immediately took the lead back with a run in the bottom of the seventh inning, but UofL sent the game to extra innings when it scored with two outs in the ninth inning. Junior right-handed closer Neil Holland took his first loss of the season in the team’s final game. Junior right-handed pitcher Thomas Royse surrendered eight hits in five and one-third innings but held Vandy to just one run.
Sophomore second baseman Ryan Wright was 2-5 with a run scored, and junior third baseman Phil Wunderlich added two hits of his own. The loss dropped UofL to 1-3 on the season against Vanderbilt and 2-4 against the Southeastern Conference. (Box Score)
No. 9 University of Louisville (1) failed to clinch its NCAA regional championship Sunday in a 7-0 loss to Vanderbilt (2). The Commodores broke the game open with a five-run fifth inning against UofL redshirt freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung and junior left-handed reliever Bob Revesz. The Cards were dominated in every facet of the game as the UofL offense mustered on two hits against Vandy junior left-handed pitcher Richie Goodenow, who was making just his second start of the season. Goodenow hurled a complete-game shutout and struck out five Cards while walking just two. (Box Score)
The two teams will meet at 6 p.m. Monday in a winner-takes-all game for the regional championship.
No. 9 University of Louisville scored three times in the first inning and didn’t look back en route to a 7-3 win over Vanderbilt in the Cards’ second game of the NCAA tournament. Senior third baseman Phil Wunderlich paced the Cards’ attack with a 2-4 performance. Wunderlich launched his 21st home run of the season, drove in four runs and scored twice. Freshman right-handed pitcher Matt Koch earned the win after allowing just one run on three hits in six innings.
Koch struck out three Commodores and walked just one. Junior right-handed closer Neil Holland allowed one hit in the final three innings to record his 17th save of the season. Holland struck out five and walked one. Sophomore second baseman Ryan Wright was 2-4 with one RBI and one runs scored. Senior first baseman Andrew Clark scored twice in the game. (Box score)
Player of the game: RHP Matt Koch — After spending the first half of the season as little more than an afterthought in the UofL bullpen, freshman Matt Koch has excelled as a weekend starting pitcher since moving up the pitching depth chart. Koch earned the biggest win in his young career with six strong innings Saturday and moved to 3-0 on the season with a 3.27 ERA. Koch has now made six starts on the season.
No. 9 University of Louisville was rewarded for its strong regular season with the No. 7 overall seed in the NCAA baseball tournament. UofL will host a NCAA regional with Vanderbilt (2), Illinois St. (3) and St. Louis (4). The Cards will face St. Louis in the first game of the regional Friday with game time to be determined. The Cards faced just one of its three regional opponents this season. Vanderbilt handed UofL one of its 12 losses with a 11-10, 17-inning win on May 11.
Meanwhile the University of Kentucky was omitted from the field of 64 and was the only team not included in the field that was projected to make the tournament by the three most prominent national college baseball writers. “Our committee felt strongly about a number of teams that had a better body of work or more momentum upward,” Division I Baseball Committee Chairman Tim Weiser said of UK. The Cats were ranked No. 33 in the latest RPI and boasted 16 wins against the RPI top 50, but missed the Southeastern Conference tournament after losing two of three to last-place Georgia in the final series of the season.
You can see the full bracket here.