LOUISVILLE — When Kentucky's Taylor Black saw Louisville reliever Tony Zych throwing smoke as he warmed up with the game tied 2-2 in the ninth, he pretty much knew what to look for.
And Black responded by drilling a 95-mph delivery from Zych into right field to score Chad Wright with the go-ahead run, and the Cats held on for a hard-fought 3-2 victory over its archrival before a crowd of 3,245 at Patterson Stadium.
"I saw him hit 95 during warm-ups, so I was sitting on the fastball," Black said. "I was able to hit it pretty hard, and it worked out for us."
"Those are the hits we haven't been getting all year," UK Coach Gary Henderson said.
The win helped UK (17-17) rebound from a sweep at the hands of Auburn over the weekend, but more importantly it gave them temporary bragging rights over the Cards until the teams meet again April 26 in Lexington.
"It's a big game," Henderson said. "When you play Louisville, it's important no matter what sport it is."
UK had 11 hits and hit the ball well most of thenight, but a howling wind at Patterson Stadium prevented more runs from getting on the board. Brian Adams hit two balls to the warning track that probably would have been homers on any other day.
"Clearly it was a game where we were stinging the ball, but they were catching it," Henderson said. "I counted four scorching line drives that they caught."
Still, the Cats were able to jump ahead 2-0 in the first inning despite hitting just one ball out of the infield, thanks in large part to some shaky U of L defense. Wright led off the game by reaching when pitcher Jeff Thompson dropped Ryan Seiz's throw to first. Black then singled to right, and Braden Kapteyn was hit by a pitch before J.T. Riddle singled off Thompson's glove to drive in Wright.
UK scored its second run when Thomas McCarthy grounded into a double play to second.
Thompson, a freshman, lasted only 32⁄3 innings despite giving up just two unearned runs. He left after throwing a whopping 95 pitches.
"That's disappointing," Louisville Coach Dan McDonnell said. "We've got a freshman who's a talented kid, and we didn't help him out in that first inning at all."
UK starter Jordan Cooper, who was moved to the mid-week non-conference series after struggling early in the year, delivered his second straight quality start, giving up just one earned run in 61⁄3 innings.
"Those are the starts we thought we'd be getting at the beginning of the year," Henderson said. "But I'm not surprised. Hopefully that's what we'll see from him the rest of the year."
"It's real important for my teammates and coaches to have faith in me," Cooper said. "I'm hoping this is something I can build on."
U of L got its first run of the game when Stewart Ijames beat out an infield single to bring Kyle Greishaber home, and the Cards tied it in the seventh when Alex Chittenden drove in Cade Stallings with an RBI groundout.
Wright delivered a one-out double in the ninth before Black's heroics. The Cards got the tying run on base when J.J. Ethel singled to center with one out, but UK ended the game on a strike-'em out, throw-'em out, as Trevor Gott caught Chittenden looking and catcher Michael Willams threw out pinch-runner Adam Engel at second base.
The Cards got to Cooper in the sixth. Greishaber doubled to left and advanced to third on Cooper's errant pickoff attempt.
"We didn't do a whole lot offensively," McDonnell said. "We weren't able to get that huge hit and they did."