The saying usually goes “better late than never,” and that was the case as #3 Louisville beat #12 Kentucky 7-6 in a wild, thrilling comeback in front of 4,642 fans at Jim Patterson Stadium.
A week after Kentucky almost delivered a comeback against Louisville at home, the Cardinals came through with one of their own. Devin Hairston led the way as the Cardinals (30-7, 13-5) scored six runs in the final three innings to secure their fifth straight win over rival Kentucky (23-13). Hairston finished the night 3-for-5 at the plate with a walk-off RBI single that drove in a diving Colin Lyman to score the winning run.
— Louisville Baseball (@UofLBaseball) April 20, 2016
“This team has a lot of fight,” Hairston said. “We have that type of confidence and swagger about us that no matter what the score is, we’re going to get the job done.”
The comeback win also gave the Cardinals their fifth straight win over a top 25 opponent, with the Cards coming off of a win at Kentucky and swept Clemson last weekend. Louisville improves to 8-6 against top 25 opponents after their five games against Kentucky and Clemson, with the Cardinals holding a six-game winning streak. The walk-off win is Louisville’s second in their five-game winning streak against the Wildcats, as well as the second in a row after Louisville had a 9-8 walk off win against Clemson on Sunday.
Zach Reks kicked it off with an RBI double to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead. Gunnar McNeill added to it in the third with an RBI ground out, while Louisville stranded five runners in that span. Louisville finally broke through with an RBI single from Devin Mann that scored Logan Taylor in the bottom fifth inning, cutting the deficit to 2-1 after five innings.
Kentucky pitcher Zach Logue rebounded from last week’s loss with a strong effort. The sophomore finished with six hits, but only allowed one run in six innings. Kade McClure, who started the game for Louisville, had five hits and runs each in six innings of work and remains undefeated as the midweek starter. Anthony Kidston was awarded the win for his appearance in the ninth inning, holding the Wildcats to just one hit in the innings.
With Louisville struggling to get the bats warm at the plate, Kentucky took advantage with three runs in the seventh, scoring on a sac-fly from Riley Mahan and RBI singles from Evan White and Storm Wilson. The Cardinals finally responded with a three-run seventh inning, led by an RBI ground out from Logan Taylor. Corey Ray followed that up with a crushing home-run directly to center field, his 11th of the season. Marcus Carson, however, robbed Brendan McKay of another home run with a spectacular grab at the right field wall to end the seventh inning.
Kentucky got an insurance run in the eighth with a sac fly to left field to push the lead to 6-4. Louisville found themselves in a tight bind again, but an RBI double from Danny Rosenbaum with two outs scored Hairston and closed the gap to 6-5. Rosenbaum would later score on a wild pitch that would tie the game, and ultimately put Louisville in position to win the game.
Rosenbaum was one of Louisville’s key performers, finishing 3-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI. McKay finished 1-for-5 and reached base for the 21st consecutive game.
With the win, Louisville improved to 24-1 at home, the lone loss a 6-3 defeat to defending champion Virginia on March 25th.
Here is what the skipper and the star had to say after the game.