The University of Louisville baseball Cardinals dodged raindrops and a scrappy Kentucky Wildcat squad to advance to the NCAA super regionals as they continue to march towards the College World Series.
The Cards (48-15) had to wait through a weather delay on Sunday that included an evacuation of Jim Patterson Stadium due to lightning. The total delay time clocked in at almost 4 hours.
Once they got back on the diamond, they took out in-state rival Kentucky (37-25) by a score of 4-1. The win didn’t come easy. The game included an incident that nearly cleared both benches due to some illegal base running by Kentucky’s Thomas Bernal, who collided with Louisville catcher Kyle Gibson above the waist, making no attempt to slide. Bernal was ejected, which ignited the strong emotions.
Kentucky earned their way into the regional championship game by defeated the Kansas Jayhawks earlier in the day 8-6. It was the first time all season that Louisville successfully climbed the Wildcat mountain. They lost of UK twice in April.
Despite the weather, it was the largest crowd of the season at Jim Patterson and 5th largest of all time. In the end, the Cardinals went without a loss in the weekend’s double elimination tournament. In fact, Louisville is 32-7 at home this season and 13-4 in NCAA championship games since Jim Patterson Stadium opened.
The Cards also placed 6 players on the All Regional Team: pitchers Kyle Funkhouser and Josh Rogers, second baseman Zach Lucas, shortstop Sutton Whiting and outfielders Cole Sturgeon and Corey Ray. Sturgeon was also voted the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
Louisville now goes on to face Kennesaw State on Friday, Saturday and, if needed, Sunday in best of three game series. Tickets are at GoCards.com and through the ticket office at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
Photo by: David Lee/Shutterstock