In an uncharacteristically sloppy game for both teams, the No. 11 Cardinals took advantage of several UK miscues in building a 7-0 lead by the fifth inning only to reciprocate with some generosity of their own as the No. 16 Wildcats battled back within 7-6 after eight innings.
Louisville ultimately got a pinch-hit, two-run single by Colin Lyman in the ninth inning to provide a pair of key insurance runs en route to a 9-6 win.
The game featured 11 pitchers, four errors, four hit batsmen, three wild pitches and a passed ball with the Cats and Cards combining to strand 18 base runners.
Sophomore right-hander Kade McClure (7-0) allowed only two earned runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out five over six innings of work for UofL. Closer Zack Burdi picked up his fourth save of the year despite giving up a pinch-hit, two-run homer to UK's Dorian Hairston in the eighth inning that cut the margin to one. Burdi worked around a hit in the ninth inning by striking out the side to seal the win for the Cards (26-7).
Kentucky (22-10) starter Zach Logue got tagged with the tough-luck loss. The sophomore left-hander allowed a run in the first inning when Zach Reks made an ill-advised attempt to make a two-out diving catch in left field, allowing UofL's Devin Mann to score from first base on a double by Brendan McCay.
Logue (1-1) then gave up three unearned runs in the third when shortstop Riley Mahan and second baseman Luke Becker each made errors on ground balls that could have ended the inning as double plays. The Cards took advantage when Will Smith was hit by a pitch to plate one run and Drew Ellis blooped a single over Mahan's head at short to drive in two more runs for a 4-0 lead.
A bases-loaded double by Ellis in the fifth pushed Louisville's lead to 7-0 before UK slowly started chipping away -- including three runs on a throwing error, a wild pitch and a passed ball -- but the Cats could never get the key two-out hit with runners in scoring position to grab the lead.
It marked the fourth consecutive victory in the rivalry for UofL, who evened the series at 11-11 since it started being played annually in 2006. The Cats and Cards are scheduled to play again on April 19 in Louisville.
Kentucky returns to action in a three-game weekend series at No. 4 Vanderbilt beginning Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET.