Sports

Cards have more ninth life in win

LOUISVILLE — Four was greater than five Wednesday, at least for one inning.

After blowing a 6-4 lead by giving up five runs in the top of the ninth, 12th-ranked Louisville came back with four in the bottom of the inning to edge Kentucky 10-9.

A regular-season record crowd of 4,039 filled Patterson Stadium, just a few furlongs from Churchill Downs. U of L salvaged a series split, having lost 5-0 at UK 22 days earlier.

"We owed them one," said freshman Zak Wasserman, who delivered the game-winning, bases-loaded single. "They got us up there and we didn't even put up a run over there. This program takes pride in hitting the fastball."

It was a wild finish that saw both closers blow up.

Chris Bisson's two-run homer in the seventh rallied Kentucky to within 5-4.

But UK left the bases loaded in the eighth, and Phil Wunderlich led off the bottom of the inning with his 14th homer of the season. That gave U of L (33-7) and closer Neil Holland a 6-4 lead.

The Wildcats (23-18) hit around in the ninth, though.

After getting one out, Holland (7-0) was touched for consecutive singles by Bisson, Chad Wright and Andy Burns, the latter driving in a run.

Lance Ray doubled in the tying run. After an intentional walk to Keenan Wiley filled the bases, a four-pitch walk to Navarro Hall forced in the go-ahead run. Two more scored when Cory Farris beat out a potential double-play grounder for a fielder's choice, combined with a throwing error by shortstop Adam Duvall.

UK Coach Gary Henderson turned to his closer, Matt Little (2-2), to protect a three-run lead.

Little got one out. Then it was all Cards.

Jeff Arnold singled and Duvall was hit by a pitch.

Andrew Clark doubled in one run to cut the gap to 9-7.

Ryan Wright flared a single to right-center, driving in two to tie the game.

Wunderlich singled and Stewart Ijames walked, loading the bases for Wasserman.

Braden Kapteyn, who relieved Little with a 2-0 count on Ijames, fell behind Wasserman 1-0. Then, Wasserman lined his walk-off hit.

"I was watching (Kapteyn) warm up and some of the guys were pointing out — the older hitters — that he was a little erratic," Wasserman said. "I was just looking for a good pitch to hit. The infield was in and I was just looking to do my job to help the team."

The hit was the last of 17 by the Cards. Wunderlich led the attack with four hits. Arnold and Wright added three each.

"It's a great college baseball game," said Dan McDonnell, the U of L coach. "Obviously we feel better than they do because we came away with a win, but you've got to be impressed with what they were able to do off of Neil Holland in the ninth. And then impressed with what we were able to do. I mean, those were two quality arms there in the ninth."

Bisson, Wright, Gunner Glad, Ray and Farris each had two of UK's 12 hits.

"We're trying to get through tough times and our bullpen's going to figure it out," Bisson said. "We'll be all right. We'll just keep fighting. ... You've just got to be tougher than they are and, tonight, they were just a little bit tougher then we were."

Henderson said he was "just proud of the effort, especially on the road; disappointed that we couldn't close out a game that we clearly should have won."

■ Rick Pitino, the U of L and former UK basketball coach, threw the ceremonial first pitch.

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