by Gabriel Wiest —
After a weekend of ups and downs No. 7 Louisville (46-16) took Illinois State (36-25) in the final round of the NCAA regionals. With a score of 4-3 the game was close and everything came down to the ninth inning.
The Cardinals lost their first game against Illinois State earlier in the weekend, making the road to victory an up-hill battle. The Cards had to win two consecutive games yesterday in order to face off against the same team in the finals. The first of these games was against the two seed Indiana University (37-23). The second was against three seed Illinois State.
This final game was to secure the winner of the regional championship, essentially making the champion win the best two of three.
Pitcher Nick Bennett took the mound first keeping Illinois State from scoring for two innings before he was replaced by pitcher Bryan Hoeing.
Louisville scored the first run in the bottom of the first inning by Logan Wyatt. There was no response from the Redbirds until the top of the fourth.
Louisville was on a five inning score drought from the second to sixth. Ending this was a score by Trey Leonard with the help of a single towards right field by Zach Britton in the bottom of the seventh.
The Cards then expanded their lead by 3-1 scoring again at the bottom of the eight.
Illinois State did not answer until the top of the ninth with two runs and tying the game 3-3.
Everything for this regional tournament hinged on the bottom of the ninth where Louisville scored one more run to win the game.
Louisville will now move on to the NCAA super regionals starting on June 7.
Photo by Gabriel Wiest / The Louisville Cardinal