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Monday Regional Scores
Louisville Headed to Supers
By Jimmy Jones
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky. –
Louisville Cardinals are California bound with a 5-3 win over
the Vanderbilt Commodores Monday night to claim the NCAA
Regional Championship. In the end, it was their pitching staff
that got the job done with some solid support from a defense
that had been porous the night before.
right-hander Tony Zych – one of only four freshmen to be invited
to the USA National Team tryouts this summer – was outstanding
in picking up the win for the Cardinals on a night when Vandy
pulled out all the stops by pitching ace Mike Minor (right) to
open the game on two days’ rest and bringing in Sonny Gray in
relief as well. The Commodores were forced to use four pitchers
in the game after only using four the previous three days.
The Cardinals advance
to the Super Regionals, where they will meet Cal State
Fullerton, the No. 2 national seed.
Louisville threatened in the second when DH Phil Wunderich
reached on an error by VU first baseman Curt Casali. Ryan Wright
followed with a blooper that fell into short centerfield to put
runners at first and second base. The threat ended when Minor
struck out catcher Jeff Arnold on a hit and run and battery mate
Andrew Giobbi made a perfect throw to third baseman Jason
Esposito who applied the tag to the hard-sliding Wunderich for
the double play.
Aaron Westlake gave the Commodores a 1-0 lead with a leadoff
solo shot high off the tall black board over the 402’ mark in
center field in their half of the second.
The Cardinals came roaring back in the fourth when Andrew Clark
singled and was promptly balked to first by Minor, his first of
the season. Wunderich worked his way on via a walk and both
runners advanced on a wild pitch.
Ryan Wright, hitting .100 in the tournament, then hit a 3-1
pitch over the center-field fence to give Louisville a 3-1 lead.
The Cardinals flashed some defense in the VU fourth after Aaron
Westlake worked out a two-out walk. Giobbi hit high chopper that
seemed destined for left field that Cardinals shortstop John Dao
short-hopped and threw across his body to just beat the runner
to end the inning.
Vanderbilt’s nine-hitter, Joe Loftus, changed the momentum with
one swing of the bat in the fifth with a towering blast over the
bleachers in left field to cut the Louisville lead to 3-2.
Louisville answered the bell again with a run to bump it to 4-2
on a clutch Dao double with two outs in the seventh.
The wheels fell off for Vanderbilt in the eighth when left
fielder Loftus was unable to pick up a fly ball off the bat of
Adam Duvall and Jonathan White dropped it after a long run
allowing Duvall to reach second.
It was déjà vu all over again in the next at-bat as Andrew Clark
lofted a pop up to short left field that Commodores third
baseman Jason Esposito waved for and then dropped to place
runners at the corners and hasten the departure of reliever
Chase Reid for the freshman phenom Gray.
Louisville Slugger All-American Chris Dominguez followed with a
ground ball to Esposito who looked home and then threw wildly to
first for the second error of the inning to make the score 5-2.
It was Dominguez’s 80th RBI of the season, a career high and
good for 5th all-time in school history.
Wunderich singled to left, where Loftus picked up and made a
strong throw to catcher Giobbi who applied the tag to Clark for
the second out of the inning. Wright’s bid for another RBI
resulted in his sinking liner being caught by White to end the
led off the Commodores eighth with a double into the alley in
left-center and would come around to score on a Casali single to
cut the lead to 5-3 but it would be the last real threat that
they could muster.
Cardinals ace Justin Marks (left) picked up the first save of
his illustrious career with a scoreless ninth to close it out.
Marks was named the tournament’s most outstanding player.
(photos by Jimmy Jones)