Coco powers Cards past Falcons

Junior Coco Johnson powered the Cardinals offense with a pair of home runs as Louisville defeated Bowling Green 8-3 in NCAA Regional action at Patterson Stadium on Friday night

The hot bats of Louisville have returned. After struggling to find their swing in the Big East Conference Tournament last week, the Cardinals pounded out 10 hits against upset-minded Bowling Green in their first game of the Louisville Regional.

In front of 2,650 fans, U of L was led by Coco Johnson's hot-hitting performance. The junior connected for a pair of home runs, which fueled the Louisville offense and held off the upset-minded Falcons for a 8-3 win and advanced to face Miami on Saturday at 5:00p.m.

"We did a lot of work in practice and it felt good to see the hard work pay off," said Johnson afterwards.

Bowling Green started the scoring early with a solo home run off the bat of Jeremy Shay in the top of the first, but Johnson responded in the bottom of the second for his first round-tripper of the evening to even the score.

Following a 25 minute rain delay in the bottom of the third and with two outs, Ty Young started a rally when he reached first on a throwing error which brought Johnson to the plate again. Johnson connected for his second home run, again to left side, to give the Cardinals a 3-1 advantage.

Louisville (47-12) increased it's lead when it plated four in the fifth inning. The rally began with one out when Nick Ratajczak doubled to right center. Ty Young reached first when he was hit by pitch and both advanced when Johnson squared to bunt. A throwing error to third allowed Ratajczak to score and Young reached third. An infield single by Johnson, followed by a stolen base, set up a two-run double off the bat by Jeff Gardner. Shane Crain singled to right to score Gardner.

Johnson finished the game 3-for-4 at the plate, with 3 RBI's, 3 runs and a stolen base. Designated hitter Jeff Gardner also went 3-for-4, driving in two and scoring once.

Bowling Green (24-30) responded with a pair of runs in the top of the 6th, but any hope of a comeback ended when the Cardinals added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning when Sutton Whiting scored on a fielders choice.

Louisville's Chad Green (10-3) threw a solid seven innings, striking out five, while only giving up three earned runs in the win.

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