Cards advance to Super Regional

For the second time in three years, Louisville is headed to the NCAA Super Regionals. The Cardinals advanced with an exhilarating 5-3 win over Vanderbilt in the NCAA Regional Championship game Monday night at Jim Patterson Stadium.

Vanderbilt struck first with a solo home run by Aaron Westlake in the bottom of the second to take a 1-0 lead. The Commodores held the lead until the fourth inning. That's when Louisville got to work on offense.

Louisville struck big in the fourth when Ryan Wright drilled a three-run home run to right center field for a 3-1 lead. Andrew Clark singled with one out and Phil Wunderlich reached on balls with two out. Clark and Wunderlich advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch by Vanderbilt starter Mike Minor before Wright's blast cleared the bases which led to Minor's replacement by reliever Russell Brewer.

Joe Loftus hammered a solo homer to left field with two outs in the fifth inning to cut Louisville's lead to 3-2.

Freshman pitcher Tony Zych came up big for
Louisville in the decisive game against

John Dao's triple to center in the seventh drove in Phil Wunderlich from first with two out for a 4-2 Louisville lead. Wunderlich singled earlier in the inning and got a jump with a 3-2 count to score easily. The triple was Dao' second of the night.

Gabe Shaw came on in relief of Zych, who gave up four hits in 6 1/3, with one on in the seventh and came up big – make that huge. With runners on second and third and just one out, Shaw struck out Joe Loftus and (Riley Reynolds) to retire the side and escape a potentially dangerous situation.

The Cards got an insurance run in the eighth for a 5-2 lead when Chris Dominguez drove in Adam Duvall in the eighth on an infield single. The inning could have been bigger for Louisville but Andrew Clark was thrown out at the plate and Ryan Wright flew out to center to end the inning with Wunderlich on second and Dominguez on third.

Jonathan White doubled to start the bottom of the eighth, his second two-bagger on the night. White scored to make it 5-3 on a hard hit single by Curt Cansali off Gavin Logsdon, who replaced Shaw. The Cardinals got out without further damage with an inning ending double play.

Justin Marks earned the save, coming on in relief in the ninth to close the Commodores in order. Marks, who got the win against Indiana in the first round, earned Regional MVP honors.

Louisville now heads to Cal-State Fullerton to play the Titans in the best of three Super Regional series. The winner of that series will advance to Omaha for the College World Series. Louisville will be playing for their second CWS appearance in the last three years.

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