By Dalton Ray–
Junior Drew Ellis accounted for four of the five runs in baseball’s 5-2 win over rival UK. The NCAA Super Regional win puts U of L one win away from their fourth trip to Omaha. A record crowd of 6,235 people watched the opening game of the Louisville Super Regional.
Junior Kade McClure moves to 8-3 after pitching five innings with six strikeouts on 75 pitches. McClure and senior Adam Wolf combined for a shutout heading into the ninth inning.
Coach Dan McDonnell said McClure stayed in the zone and kept UK on their toes.
“There are pitchers that have the ability to keep everybody in the flow of the game and we felt like Kade was in a really good flow today. We challenged him to set the tone. Set the tone for the weekend and make it clear,” McDonnell said.
Crooked number in the first
Leading off the bottom of the first inning, senior Logan Taylor ripped a double to left field. Sophomore Devin Mann drove home the Lexington Catholic graduate two batters later.
UK’s Zach Thompson (8-3) struggled early and a pick-off error advanced runners to second and third base. A catcher interference gave Louisville another run and the Cards led 2-0 after the first inning.
“It’s definitley nice to have a lead going into the second inning,” McClure said. “There were a couple times where I fell behind and (the defense) fought back for me. I tried to put the ball in the zone and let the defense make the plays. I have the best out field in America, the best in field in America and a brick wall behind home plate.”
El-bomb ends dry spell
From the second to the fourth inning, the teams combined for two hits. McClure controlled the strike zone and Thompson shook off the rocky start.
Two walks and a single in the bottom of the fourth loaded the bases for U of L, but a strikeout ended the scare for UK.
Ellis erupted the crowd with a three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ellis’ 18th home run of the season put U of L up 5-0.
Cats going down scratching
Trailing 5-0 heading to the ninth inning, UK’s Evan White homer to kick off the inning.
Louisville’s stud closer Lincoln Henzman responded with two quick ground outs, putting the pressure on UK. A single and a walk put the tying runs on board for Kentucky.
Tyler Marshall singled and cut the lead to three. Cardinal fans became uneasy with runners on the corners and two outs, but a strikeout secured the win.
Photos by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal