Walk-off grand slam crushes Louisville

By on June 12, 2016

By Dalton Ray–

In an elimination game, the second-ranked Louisville Cardinals fell in the most heart-breaking way. U of L was leading UC Santa Barbra 3-0, two outs away from forcing a game three when UCSB hit a walk-off grand slam to prevail 4-3.

The swing that shocked Jim Patterson

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Louisville brought in their lights-out closer, Zack Burdi. The power-throwing righty is Dan McDonnell’s ace to finish off teams. Burdi was able to strike out Santa Barbra’s most powerful batter to start the ninth inning.

After the K, Burdi allowed a single and then walked the next two batters to load the bases. UCSB brought in Sam Cohen to pinch hit. On the fourth pitch, Cohen got ahold of 92 mile-per-hour change up and sent it over the right field wall. The crowd was in complete shock as Cohen rounded the bases and UCSB cleared the dugout.

An emotional Dan McDonnell gave full credit to Santa Barbra.

“That team won that game,” McDonnell said. “I’m proud of my guys, I hope they don’t beat themselves up.”

Harrington was one of the first to console Burdi on the field while he had his jersey over his face in disbelief.

“I gave (Burdi) a big hug and told him I’d be watching him on TV in September,” Drew Harrington said. “He thinks the game is his fault but we all could have done better, as a team and individually. The guy just got the the ball at the right spot.”

Drew Harrington dealing

U of L’s Sunday starter came out as hot as the weather against UCSB. Through the first two innings, Harrington sat down five different batters. Harrington went seven innings and ended with a career high 12 strikeouts. On his 92 pitches, 63 were strikes and he only allowed six hits.

Harrington’s 1.95 ERA is lower than his season average of 2.08. Despite the heart-breaking loss, Harrington looked at the positive.

“What we accomplished this season is really unbelievable,” Harrington said. “To not lose a mid-week game all year and what we did in the ACC.”

Two outs in the fourth 

After Corey Ray grounded-out to second base and Nick Solak had a fly-out to center, Brendan McKay stepped to the plate with two outs. The two-way player reached to the opposite corner of the strike-zone and lifted the ball all the way to the railroad tracks past center field. Next up was Devin Hairston, whose line-drive hugged the first base foul line and wedged itself into the corner earning him a triple.

Santa Barbara’s Noah Davis continued his bad inning by hanging a ball across the plate, and Blake Tiberi continued the hitting. His shot to the fence in center, brought home Hairston and placed him on second. Danny Rosenbaum didn’t take many pitches as Davis lofted another slider across the plate and Rosenbaum singled to right field, bringing in Tiberi.

U of L was able to hit for the reverse-cycle in the top of the fourth inning all with two outs. Just as UCSB had the mental edge for 12 innings, Louisville was able to gain it back with four swings of the bat.

Ray MIA at the plate in the tournament

In the first game of the Louisville regional against Western Michigan, Corey Ray went three for five with an RBI. Since then, Ray has simply been frustrated with the bat in his hands. Over the next four tournament games, Ray went 1-for-16 and hitless the last three. In his five games in the NCAA tournament he went four for 25, a batting average of .160. His season total was .310.

Hairston, Rosenbaum, Tiberi deadly in 5-6-7 spots

The first four batters for Louisville are extremely dangerous. The group had a batting average of .352 with a total of 32 home runs and 172 RBIs on the year. In the postseason, the batters in the five, six and seven holes have buried teams. Through five NCAA tournament games the trio was 22-for-56 (.392 BA) with 12 RBIs and four home runs.

Louisville ended the year with a 50-14 record, a win away from tying a school record. U of L has now fallen in back-to-back Super Regionals to a California team.

Photos by Dalton Ray and Jacob Kuperfman / The Louisville Cardinal

 

About Dalton Ray

Sports editor (2016-18) that is technically award winning.

Email: dray@louisvillecardinal.com

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