Plagued by untimely pitching and going 2-for-19 with runners in scoring position, Louisville (44-18) fell short to Texas Tech (41-17) 10-4 in their 1-0 matchup in the Lubbock Regional of the NCAA Baseball Tournament.
The loss snaps a 16-game winning streak in the NCAA Regional for Louisville, making it the first time since 2012 that the Cardinals face a win or go home situation in the regional round.
It was a game plagued with mishaps, mainly Louisville’s inability to capitalize with runners in scoring position. The Cardinals went 2-for-19 with runners in scoring position, going until the top of the ninth to capitalize in that situation.
Louisville got on the scoreboard first in the top of the third inning, via RBI groundout from Logan Wyatt. But Texas Tech would score six runs, three each in the third and fourth innings, to build a commanding lead early. In the third, the Red Raiders scored on an RBI groundout from Gabe Holt, a bases-loaded walk and even a balk from starting pitcher Nick Bennett.
Louisville did add a run in the fourth on a fielder’s choice, but once again Tech answered with three runs in the inning. Gabe Holt drove in an RBI double down the left field line, while Brian Klein added two more runs with an RBI single.
In the sixth inning, Texas Tech got two more runs with an RBI double from Greg Little. A fielding error from Tyler Fitzgerald allowed Little to score an unearned run, pushing their lead to 8-2. Josh Jung’s two-run homer in the seventh inning gave the Red Raiders a 10-2 advantage, wrapping up another impressive performance from one of college baseball’s best offenses.
Louisville did score two runs in the top of the ninth, finally ending their 0-for-17 drought with runners in scoring position. Josh Stowers drilled an RBI double to right-center field, with Lucas Dunn bringing Stowers home at the next at-bat with an RBI single into shallow center field. Ethan Stringer’s groundout closed the game for good in the top of the ninth.
For Louisville, their top five hitters in the batting lineup went a combined 2-for-18. Danny Oriente was the Cardinals’ only batter with a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored. Josh Stowers and Lucas Dunn had RBI base hits in the ninth inning, with Justin Lavey going 1-for-4 with an RBI via fielder’s choice in the fourth inning.
Unlike Louisville, Texas Tech got plenty of production from the top half of their batting lineup. Brian Klein was 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs, both RBIs coming on his single in the fourth inning. Grant Little (2-for-4, double, two RBIs) and Josh Jung (2-for-2, two runs, two RBIs, HR) also had multi-hit games for the Red Raiders, with Gabe Holt also adding two RBIs. Altogether, those four went 8-for-15 with all eight of Texas Tech’s RBIs, as well as eight of Tech’s ten base hits.
The Cardinals will now have to win three straight games — including the final two against the Red Raiders — to advance to their sixth straight Super Regional. However, Louisville must first defeat Kent State again tomorrow at 3 p.m. to earn a rematch with Texas Tech. If the Cardinals win, they face the Red Raiders at 7 p.m., following the game against Kent State.