UK defeats Louisville with ninth inning heroics

LOUISVILLE- What started out as a beautiful day in Louisville ended up being a great night for the UK baseball team as the Cats beat rival Louisville 3-2 Tuesday evening at James Patterson Stadium.

UK (17-17, 2-10 SEC), who was on a three game losing streak after Auburn swept the Cats in Lexington over the weekend, came out swinging the bats and put two quick runs up in the first inning.

“We talk about throwing the first punch and putting somebody on their heels.” UK head coach Gary Henderson said. “Show up from the very beginning and tonight we were able to do it.”

Louisville (20-12, 6-3 Big East) was ranked No. 28 in the country going into Tuesday’s matchup with the Cats, but the Cardinals struggled to get on base, largely in part to the UK pitching staff, including starting pitcher Jordan Cooper.

“Those are the starts that I thought in the beginning of the year that we were going to get from Jordan,” Henderson said. “But I’m not surprised that’s the second one in a row now.”

The win could not have come without the outstanding play of Chad Wright and Taylor Black. Wright and Black combined to go six-for-eight with three runs. With the score tied 2-2 in the top half of the ninth inning, Wright slapped a double down the first base line.

“You get to second base with one out and you definitely feel with your two-hitter and one of your hottest hitters up, that you have a really good chance to get in,” said Wright.

After a pitching change from Louisville, a passed ball sent Wright to third with only one out. Black came to the plate and smacked a base hit into right field sending Wright home for the go-ahead and the eventual game-winning run.

“I just tried to put a barrel on it,” Black said. “All I had to do was hit it hard with the infield in and it worked out.”

The bullpen for the Cats was one of the biggest issues going into Tuesday’s game, but Mike Kaczmarek and Trevor Gott only surrendered one hit apiece and no earned runs.

”With the way our young guys have been pitching, especially Trevor Gott, you’ve got that one run lead,” Wright said, “you feel confident with him going back on the mound.”