Cards drop a tough one to Fullerton

The University of Louisville baseball team left 11 runners on base and Zack Burdi hit a batter to force in the winning run as the Cardinals dropped a 3-2 decision to Cal State Fullerton in the first game of the best-of-three series in a Super Regional. The Cardinals (46-17) will play the Titans in an elimination game tomorrow at noon.

Cal State Fullerton coach Rick Vanderhook said it best after his team claimed a 3-2 decision in 10 innings over the University of Louisville on Saturday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium.

"I'll just say it, we got a little lucky," Vanderhook said. "And I'll take all the luck we can get."

Fullerton won the Super Regional game when Zack Burdi came in with the bases loaded and one out in the 10th inning and hit Timmy Richards with his first pitch - a 100 mph fastball. The miscue plated Jerrod Bravo with the winning run.

Burdi struck out the next two batters and Louisville got two runners on in the bottom of the 10th inning, but Mike White struck out with Colin Lyman on third and Zach Lucas on first to end the game.

"It was a hard fought game and we had opportunities," U of L coach Dan McDonnell said. "We just had a hard time capitalizing on them. They had a couple of opportunities also. I was really proud of our kids and how they fought.

"I thought we had a lot of good at-bats and we had good focus. Obviously, it hurts when you lose but this time of the year there's a fine line between winning and losing. I'm just glad we get a chance to come back tomorrow."

The Cardinals (46-17) will face elimination in game two on Sunday at noon. Freshman Brendan McKay will get the call on the mound against the Titans (38-22).

The loss - Lincoln Henzman (5-2) - was the first all season by the bullpen. The Cardinals bullpen is now 22-1 and the Cardinals also ended an 11-game winning streak in NCAA Tournament games at home.

Kyle Funhouser gave the Cardinals a solid outing, allowing just five hits and two runs in seven innings of work. He walked the first batter of the seventh inning, who came home to score once he was taken out of the game.

The Cardinals trailed 1-0 when McKay hit a solo home run to right in the bottom of the sixth. U of L also trailed again when with one out in the bottom of the ninth Mike White hit a solo home run.

But in the end it just wasn't in the Cards.

Louisville finished with 12 hits and left 11 on base, including Colin Lyman at third to end the game. Zach Lucas grounded into a fielders' choice and Mike White struck out to end it.

"We just have to stay focused," McDonnell said. "Just stay focused."

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