Cardinals and Titans meet Monday at 7 p.m., ET on ESPN2; winner advances to College World Series
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Behind seven strong innings on the mound from freshman Brendan McKay and 16 hits from the offense, No. 3 national seed Louisville avoided elimination and setup a winner-take-all NCAA Super Regional finale with Sunday's 9-3 victory in game two at Jim Patterson Stadium.
The Cardinals (47-17) and Titans (38-23) will conclude their best-of-three series on Monday at 7 p.m., ET on ESPN2 with the winning side advancing to the 2015 College World Series in Omaha, Neb. Louisville will start sophomore lefty Josh Rogers (8-1, 3.53 ERA) on the mound in Monday's finale, while freshman righty Connor Seabold (5-3, 2.92 ERA) will get the start for Cal State Fullerton.
McKay finished with nine strikeouts and allowed just two runs while scattering eight hits in 7.0+ innings to earn the win and improve to 9-3 on the season. Sunday's performance marked the seventh time this season the Collegiate Baseball newspaper Freshman of the Year has struck out eight or more in a single game.
Junior Danny Rosenbaum was among four Cardinals with at least three hits on Sunday going 4-of-5 with a double and a run scored. Sophomore Logan Taylor came off the bench and hit his first career home run while finishing 3-for-3 with three RBI, two runs scored and two stolen bases. Sophomore Corey Ray drove in three runs and was 3-for-5 with a double, while freshman Devin Hairston chipped in with three singles, two runs scored and one RBI.
The Cardinals struck first on Sunday plating a run in the second inning on when senior Zach Lucas scored from third on a RBI fielder's choice off the bat of freshman Colby Fitch. Lucas started things with a leadoff single to left center and moved to third on a single to left by Rosenbaum before scoring on the chopper up the middle by Fitch, who outran the double-play attempt by the Titans.
Cal State Fullerton answered in the bottom of the second when Timmy Richards drove in Jerrod Bravo with a one-out RBI single up the middle to even the score at 1-1. The inning started with a leadoff walk to Bravo, who moved to second on a wild pitch before the single from Richards.
Louisville moved back ahead in the third inning on a two-out RBI single by Rosenbaum to score sophomore Nick Solak for the 2-1 edge. Solak led off the inning with a single to left off Titans starter John Gavin and moved to second on a single to center by Ray. After Gavin was replaced by righty reliever Chad Hockin, Rosenbaum sent the first offering of his at-bat into left field to drive Solak home.
The Cardinals put the game out of reach with a four-run sixth inning, the 18th time this season they have scored four or more in a single frame. Rosenbaum started it up with a double to right center and after moving to third on a wild pitch by Hockin, scored on a RBI single to left from Hairston.
Moments later, Taylor connected on a 1-0 pitch sending it over the left field wall for his first collegiate home run and a 5-1 advantage. Louisville added its final run in the inning on a RBI double by Ray to score Solak, who coaxed a two-out walk from Maxwell Gibbs earlier in the frame.
The Cardinals continued the scoring in the eighth inning with a two-run single to center by Ray to plate Taylor and senior Sutton Whiting. Taylor led off the inning with a single to left against righty Willie Kuhl. Following a walk to Whiting, Solak advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt before Ray sent a 1-1 pitch into shallow centerfield to plate two runs.
The Titans ended Louisville's seven-run scoring stretch with a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth. Jake Jefferies plated the first run with a RBI sacrifice fly to left and Tanner Pinkston added a RBI double to left. Louisville's final run of the day came in the ninth inning on a RBI single by Taylor to drive Hairston home.
Gavin was charged with the loss for the Titans and dropped to 7-3 on the season after allowing two runs on five hits in 2.1 innings. David Olmedo-Barrera led the way at the plate for Cal State Fullerton finishing 3-for-4 with a run scored.