After jumping out to a seemingly comfortable 6-0 lead, Regional top-seed Louisville needed to rally to put away a stingy Radford squad to open NCAA postseason play on Friday night.
Playing in front of 3,763 fans at Jim Patterson Stadium, the Cardinals scored six runs in the third inning, but Radford responded with a two-out grand slam from Adam Whitacre in the top of the fourth to close the gap to 6-4.
Whitacre, who entered the contest with just two home runs and 14 RBI on the season, connected for a two RBI triple in the sixth to even the score.
Louisville quickly regained control of the game with the first career home run by freshman designated hitter Jake Snider in the bottom of the sixth. Logan Taylor followed with single and later scored on a groundout by Brendan McKay to build a 9-6 advantage.
The host Cardinals added another pair of runs in the seventh when Colin Lyman and Josh Stowers hit back-to-back one-out doubles. Stowers crossed the plate after stealing third and advancing on Radford catcher Jonathan Gonzalez's second throwing error of the game.
"You can’t take these games for granted," U of L head coach Dan McDonnell said. "Give Radford a lot of credit. We put up a six-spot. Sometimes during the year, teams fold. But Radford didn’t, obviously, putting up a four-spot. Really, nobody does in the NCAAs. There is too much pride. Kids are having too much fun. There is no reason to quit. They answered and then fought back and fortunately for us we did not panic"
Stowers went 3-for-3 at the plate, driving in three runs and scored three times. Snider also finished with three RBI on a 2-for-3 performance at the plate.
Sam Bordner (2-0) picked up the win after throwing 3.1 scoreless innings. He struck out six without allowing a hit.
Louisville advances to Saturday evening's game against regional two-seed Oklahoma, which defeated Xavier 7-2 on Friday afternoon. First pitch is slated for 7p.m.