After a long, grueling four-plus hour battle, #12 Louisville (42-20-1) was walked off in the ninth by #5 Texas A&M (42-18) in game one of the Super Regionals.
Louisville now must win tomorrow and Sunday in order to advance to the College World Series.
While Texas A&M left a staggering 17 runners on base in the contest, it was missed opportunities from Louisville that kept the Cardinals from securing a game one victory. Louisville had ten walks allowed and four HBPs, both leading to the eventual walk-off hit by Troy Claunch in the ninth.
An HBP brought home Claunch in the bottom of the first, giving the Aggies a quick 1-0 lead.
But Louisville responded in the following frame. The Cardinals scored three runs in the second with an RBI double from Logan Beard and a sac fly from Ben Bianco.
Texas A&M cut into the lead with an RBI single from Jordan Thompson in the third inning, but Louisville pushed the lead back to 4-2 on an RBI double from Ben Metzinger in the fifth inning.
Thompson would tie the game in the seventh inning with a two-run homer just past the outstretched arm of Levi Usher into left center field.
Louisville had its chances in the eighth and ninth innings to potentially retake the lead, but left two runners on base in the eighth, and another in the ninth to be held scoreless in both frames.
After leaving with the bases loaded in the first, second, sixth, and eighth innings, Texas A&M was finally able to capitalize in the ninth. Trevor Werner was walked to open the inning, and after back-to-back putouts, A&M loaded the bases on a single by Austin Bost and another HBP that put Ryan Targac on base. That led to the eventual walk-off single from Troy Claunch to give the Aggies the win.
Despite striking out 13 times and leaving 17 runners on base, A&M constantly pressured Louisville’s pitchers with a consistent approach to the plate. The Aggies tallied 11 hits, led by Jack Moss with a 3-for-6 outing at the plate. Jordan Thompson provided clutch hitting in his 2-for-4 night, with three RBIs that helped A&M tie the game. Troy Claunch also had a stellar day with his 2-for-4 outing.
Texas A&M’s bullpen did a stellar job of keeping the Aggies alive while they clawed back from their deficit. Joseph Menefee (2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 4 K) and Jacob Palisch (2.0 IP, 2 H, BB, K) held the Cardinals scoreless through the final 4.2 innings, with Palisch earning the win and advancing his record to 7-3.
Jared Poland put in a gutsy performance as the starter for Louisville. Despite facing bases-loaded situations in the first two innings, Poland went on to work five whole innings and allowed just two runs, striking out seven A&M batters along the way. Louisville had 13 strikeouts on the afternoon, but struggled with ten walks and four HBPs on the night.
Ben Metzinger and Cameron Masterman both led Louisville offensively with three hits (3-for-5 and 3-for-4, respectively), each also recording a double. Logan Beard (1-for-2) led the team with two RBIs.
Louisville and Texas A&M will meet again tomorrow in game two at 3 p.m. ET., airing live on ESPN2.