With their backs against the wall the rest of the round, Louisville went 2-for-2 on Sunday to keep their season alive. The Cardinals eliminated Indiana in a 9-7 win in game one, then blew out Illinois State to force the rubber match on Monday afternoon.
Early Scoring Spree Helps Louisville Escape With Win Over Indiana
The Cardinals (45-16), who had scored nine total runs in the first two games of the Louisville regional, matched that total in one game, as they eliminated the Hoosiers (37-23) with a 9-7 win on Sunday afternoon.
Danny Oriente and Justin Lavey each had two RBIs on their base hits in the second inning, which gave Louisville an early 4-0 lead after two innings. Alex Binelas hit his 14th home run of the season in the third inning, adding two more runs as the Cardinals held a 6-0 lead after three innings.
Binelas would give the Cardinals another run in the fifth inning, coming on an RBI groundout. Louisville had a 7-0 lead after five innings, with the shutout being thrown by starter Bobby Miller during the first five innings.
Miller had worked around a couple of innings with runners on base for IU, but the Hoosiers were able to get on the board in the top of the sixth inning. Indiana got four runs in the inning, first coming after Cade Bunnell had an RBI single. Drew Ashley also had an RBI triple that brought in two more runs, and ended Miller’s day shortly after. Miller finished with four earned runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings, throwing eight strikeouts in the process.
The Cardinals responded with two runs of their own in the seventh inning, coming on Alex Binelas’ RBI double and Drew Campbell’s RBI single.
IU, however, would make a solid run at a comeback in the eighth and ninth innings. Drew Ashley reached base on a fielder’s choice that brought in a run for the Hoosiers.
After two strikeouts by closer Michael McAvene in the ninth inning, the Cardinals looked like they would be on their way to the Regional Final. But a home run by Scotty Bradley and RBI single from Grant Richardson cut Louisville’s lead to 9-7, and IU had the tying run at the plate. Michael McAvene was ejected after a missed strike three call resulted in Dan McDonnell furiously pleading his case to the officials, with McAvene also hastily making his argument.
Michael Kirian came in after McAvene’s ejection, and needed just one pitch to strike out Ryan Fineman and close the game out. Both teams had a very intense meeting at the mound after the game’s conclusion, with IU’s coaches livid over the strike call that ultimately ended their season.
Alex Binelas led the Cardinals with a 2-for-5 showing at the plate, driving four RBIs and both hits going for extra bases (double, home run). Both Tyler Fitzgerald (2-for-4) and Logan Wyatt (2-for-5) had multiple hits for the Cardinals, with Justin Lavey leading all batters with a 3-for-4 performance and two RBIs to add to his total. Drew Campbell finished 1-for-2 with an RBI in his first start of the regional, and had a sensational home run robbing grab in the eighth inning.
Indiana saw the top of its batting order (Drew Ashley, Matt Lloyd, Elijah Dunham) combine to go 5-for-14 with three RBIs, with Ashley and Lloyd tallying multiple hits in the game. Scotty Bradley recorded his tenth home run of the season in the ninth inning, joining Cole Barr and Matt Lloyd as Hoosiers batters who hit 10+ homers in the 2019 season.
Louisville Rolls to 11-2 Win Over Illinois State in Game Two
No dramatics or extracurriculars were needed in game two, as Louisville (46-16) rolled to an 11-2 win over Illinois State (36-25) to force a winner-take-all game on Monday. The win is the 600th of Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell’s career.
Louisville would carry their energy and momentum from beating Indiana into the next game, charging ahead to a 5-1 lead after four innings.
Drew Campbell continued his sensational Sunday with a sac fly that drew Louisville’s first run of the game in the second inning. Justin Lavey added another run with an RBI single through the left side, giving Louisville the early 2-0 lead.
Illinois State countered with a run in the bottom half of the inning, coming on Nick Zouras’s sac fly.
But Louisville had three runs in the fourth inning that got the crowd buzzing, and the dugout fired up with emotion. Jake Snider drilled his first home run of the season out of the ballpark, and Lucas Dunn cleared the bases with a two-RBI triple that extended Louisville’s lead to 5-1.
It would be three whole innings before the Cardinals would score again. Danny Oriente, Drew Campbell, and a pinch-hitting Zach Britton all had RBI singles that added insurance runs for Louisville, pushing their lead to 8-1. Tyler Fitzgerald offered a sac fly that put another run on the board for Louisville, giving them a 9-1 lead. The eighth inning would see Louisville bat through their lineup, as Jake Snider had a two-RBI single on his second at-bat of the eighth inning.
With all of their weekend starters used for the regional, Louisville turned to junior Luke Smith for the start in their nightcap. Smith dealt the best gem of his Louisville career, allowing one earned run and three hits in 8.1 innings. The 8.1 innings pitched also marked a season-high for the Champaign, IL native. Smith allowed a run in the ninth inning on a balk, but got a strikeout right afterwards before ultimately exiting the game to a standing ovation. Carter Lohman retired the final two batters to give the Cardinals a much needed win.
Jake Snider was moved to the 5-spot for both games today, but in this one, he would come up aces for the Cards. Snider finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs, and hit his first home run of the season. Drew Campbell had another solid outing in the nightcap, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and great defense throughout the day. Alex Binelas finished game two going 2-for-5 at the plate. Lucas Dunn had a triple during his 1-for-4 outing with two RBIs.
Illinois State was only able to muster up three hits during the contest, coming from John Rave, Joe Aeilts, and Joe Butler.
With Louisville winning both games on Sunday, it now sets up a winner-take-all game on Monday between the Cardinals and the Redbirds. Louisville will be looking to secure its sixth Super Regional appearance in the last seven seasons, while Illinois State is trying to go to its first ever Super Regional.