It took seven innings for #7 Louisville to finally get the bats going, but it would be just in time for the Cardinals to keep their season alive. Drew Campbell drove in the first run of the seventh inning on an RBI single, and later on delivered the walkoff in the ninth to give Louisville (51-17) a 4-3 win over #6 Mississippi State (52-14).
Rowdey Jordan and Gunner Halter both had RBIs on their base hits in the fourth inning to give Mississippi State a 2-0 lead. Tanner Allen would add another run in the seventh inning to extend the Bulldogs lead to 3-0, going into the stretch.
Louisville, meanwhile, was unable to get anything going against Mississippi State’s JT Ginn. The freshman righty was keeping Louisville off-balance through the first six innings, allowing just three hits and shutting out the Cardinals throughout.
Also keeping Louisville from scoring was errant baserunning throughout the game. Lucas Dunn was tagged out at second base, ending the third inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Trey Leonard was tagged out while trying to reach third on a passed ball. And in the eighth, Lucas Dunn was tagged out at second again after overrunning the base during Logan Wyatt’s single, preventing a potential run from scoring during Louisville’s rally.
Speaking of rallies, Louisville was able to get theirs going in the seventh. Drew Campbell and Justin Lavey brought in a run on an RBI single and fielder’s choice, respectively.
Louisville failed to get a run in the eighth inning, but got two in the ninth to deliver their fifth walk-off of the season (second in the postseason). Jake Snider was walked on a full-count to reach base, then advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt by reliever Cole Gordon. Danny Oriente would bring Snider home from second on an RBI single and tie the game, then reach second base on the throw. Drew Campbell then hit another RBI single to right center field that brought Oriente home, and kept the Cardinals season alive for at least another day.
U of L managed to outhit Mississippi State 9-8, relying on six hits across the final three innings to pull off the comeback win. Drew Campbell led all batters with a 3-for-4 outing, driving in two RBIs (the first got Louisville on the board, the last being the walkoff run in the ninth). Lucas Dunn went 2-for-3 as the leadoff hitter, with Danny Oriente (1-for-4) and Justin Lavey both adding an RBI to their totals.
The bullpen in the latter portions of the game did enough for Louisville to mount a comeback effort in the final three innings. Garrett Schmeltz and Jared Poland went a combined 2.2 innings in relief duty, led by Poland’s four strikeouts against seven batters faced. Reid Detmers, who only made two total pitches as the final pitcher for Louisville, picked off Jake Mangum to record the final out in the ninth. Detmers ended up securing the win with zero batters faced; his 13th win of the season ties the U of L single-season record, set by Kyle Funkhouser in 2014. As a team, Louisville recorded 12 strikeouts, also in part by starter Nick Bennett (4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 K) and reliever Bryan Hoeing (2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 5 K).
Tanner Allen led all Mississippi State batters with a 2-for-4 showing, driving in an RBI for the Bulldogs. Rowdey Jordan (1-for-4) and Gunner Halter (1-for-2) also had RBIs, with Jordan getting a double (the only extra-base hit for either team in the game). Despite the loss, JT Ginn had a quality start with six shutout innings pitched, allowing just three hits and one walk.
Louisville now gets another rematch against #2 Vanderbilt on Friday at 7:00 ET. The Cards will need to win two games against the Commodores tomorrow and Saturday to advance to the finals.