Louisville, which dropped its tournament opener Thursday, stays alive in the double-elimination bracket and will meet the loser of Thursday’s second game between St. John’s and Pittsburgh Friday at 3 p.m. Cincinnati saw its season come to an end with the loss.
Louisville starting pitcher Justin Amlung scattered four hits and allowed three runs with seven strikeouts to improve to 10-2 on the year. Three Cardinal relievers worked 2.2 shutout innings with four strikeouts to end the game, including closer Tony Zych, who faced a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning, but got a game-ending double-play to register his 13th save.
Amlung cruised through the first four innings, facing one batter over the minimum and striking out six of the first 10 Cincinnati hitters. Stallings’ solo home run in the second inning gave Louisville an early 1-0 lead and the Cardinals doubled their advantage in the third when Ryan Wright’s sacrifice fly brought home Alex Chittenden.
Louisville added two more in the top of the fourth on RBI singles by Drew Haynes and Adam Engel to build a 4-0 lead.
Cincinnati picked up its first hit and first run in the top of the fifth when first baseman NIc Spence led off the inning with a home run to right field. Jake Proctor and Jake Saylor followed with base hits and Proctor came in to score on a wild pitch to make it 4-2.
The Bearcats made it a one-run game in the seventh inning when Saylor’s RBI single brought in Proctor, who had been hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. But Cardinal reliever Jeff Thompson got a strikeout and a popup to end the seventh. Cincinnati’s Justin Glass led off the eighth with a single, but Thompson struck out the next two batters and reliever Cody Ege struck out spence to end the inning.
Louisville added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth on Zak Wasserman’s RBI single to make it 5-3, but Cincinnati threatened in the top of the ninth when Proctor’s base hit and Saylor’s walk put the first two men on. Zych forced Proctor at third on a sacrifice bunt attempt for the first out, but the Bearcats’ Robert Quinn singled to right to load the bases. Zych got Chris Peters on a 6-3 double play to end the game and keep the Cardinals’ season alive.
Cincinnati was led at the plate by Proctor and Saylor, who both went 2-for-3. Bearcat starting pitcher Dan Jensen took the loss, falling to 4-5 after allowing five hits and four runs (three earned) in five innings.