With the game tied 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth, Antone DeJesus dug in with the bases loaded against Cardinal reliever Brian Halford. DeJesus, who had missed all three games against Auburn this weekend due to shoulder soreness, ripped a walk-off single to centerfield to give the 23rd ranked Kentucky Wildcats a dramatic 5-4 win.
"What a great game and a great atmosphere," UK Head Coach John Cohen said. "The fans really came out and supported us and it gave a tremendous boost to our club. It's really a credit to these players and how hard they've worked for us to have almost 2,000 people in the stands."
The Cats and the Cards played nine innings of roller-coaster baseball, brimming with intra-state excitement.
Louisville jumped out in front early, hitting a pair of singles and piecing together a two-run first inning.
Facing a 2-0 deficit in the bottom of the fourth inning, Collin Cowgill launched a one-out solo home run to left center to get things going for the Bat Cats. Later in the fourth Michael Bertram and Billy Grace slapped a couple of singles that knotted the game 2-2.
Kentucky took their first lead in the sixth. After DeJesus was hit by a pitch, Cowgill doubled to left-field to knock in his second RBI of the game and put the Cats in front 3-2. Cowgill was picked off trying to steal third base, which drew Coach Cohen out of the home dugout to argue. Cohen was promptly tossed, but his team and his fans appreciated his efforts as a chorus of cheers rained down from the 1,912 fans in attendance.
With UK's head man gone, Louisville rallied. Wildcat reliever Brock Baber walked the leadoff man and gave up back-to-back singles to load the bases with nobody out. With the bags juiced, Baber beamed shortstop Chris Cates to allow the first run of the inning to cross. The next Cardinal batter, third baseman Logan Johnson, hit a towering fly ball to center, allowing the tying run to cross.
With two men still in scoring position, Kentucky dodged a huge bullet with a wild double play. Daniel Burton hit what should have been a routine ground out to third, but after the out was made at first Ryan Strieby threw behind Cates at second and caught him in a rundown that ended the inning with Kentucky escaping further damage.
The Wildcats entered the ninth inning with the ballgame knotted at 4-4. John Shelby singled to lead off the ninth. Shelby advanced all the way to third as Sean Coughlin and Ryan Wilkes both drew walks to force him over. With the winning run 90 feet from home, Antone DeJesus delivered the clutch single that propelled the Cats to the 5-4 win.
Billy Grace and Collin Cowgill led the charge for the Bat Cats, going 2-4 on the evening and driving in two RBIs apiece. Their hitting provided Kentucky with four of their five runs for the game and every run up until the dramatic ninth inning.
The win improved Kentucky's overall record to 23-7 on the year and was their sixth win over the Cardinals in their last seven meetings. Louisville falls to 12-17 on the season.
The Bat Cats return to action this weekend with a big series against the defending SEC Champion Florida Gators. Kentucky hopes to rebound after a disappointed performance in Auburn. The first game is scheduled for Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Cliff Hagan Stadium.