Extra Inning Battle

Louisville scored five runs in the top of the 12th inning, all off Ole Miss closer David Goforth, and took the series opener 6-1.

"They were putting good swings on everything I was throwing up there," said Goforth, who went 1.1 innings allowing five runs, but just one earned, on four hits. An uncharacteristic error by Kevin Mort led to more unearned runs in the frame.

"To be honest, I actually felt pretty good," Goforth said. "I know when I first came in out of the pen, a few balls got away from me. I probably didn't locate as good as I could have. But they were definitely up there taking their hacks."

Goforth said it was disappointing that he didn't stop the bleeding and give his team a better chance.

"The biggest thing I did was that after they scored the first two, I just kept letting them....it just compounded," he said. "I've got to be able to go in and stop them, even after they score two runs. Stop and that be it, and then we come in and score."

But that didn't happen. Up 6-1, Louisville reliever Neil Holland closed the door as the Rebs went quietly, three up, three down. Miles Hamblin, Taylor Hightower, and Kevin Mort couldn't make anything happen in the bottom of the 12th.

But it had been that way for much of the game for the Ole Miss offense. Cardinal pitching held Rebel bats at bay for most of the night.

Ole Miss got just four hits in 12 innings and didn't get its first until Matt Smith singled to right in the bottom of the sixth. Smith stole second and scored on a Tanner Mathis base hit.

Adam Duvall's solo shot to left in the top of the third off Rebel starter Drew Pomeranz gave the visitors a 1-0 lead. Ole Miss' best chance to break the 1-1 tie came in the bottom of the seventh. Miles Hamblin doubled to lead things off but was picked off when Taylor Hightower pulled back on a bunt attempt. The Rebs got no runs in the frame.

"When you're sacrificing, the baserunner is supposed to read the ball down," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "When the ball's going down, he's supposed to run to third base. But Hightower squared around and then pulled back. But what happens is you anticipate it so much trying to get to third base and be safe that you get caught off. Most people teach their catcher that if you're going to bunt and he bunts through it or takes it, it's almost like an automatic pickoff play. And Hamblin knows that. It's tough. You get picked off usually once in your life. And it'll never happen to him again."

Pomeranz had a stellar night that was overshadowed by the length of the contest and the fact that his team lost. He went 6.1 innings, allowing one earned run on three hits with 12 strikeouts and three walks.

"I actually felt better later in the game than I did at the beginning," Pomeranz said. "They were battling me and making me throw pitches. I was locating better as the game went along. I had good control of all three of my pitches. When I have that going it's easier to keep them off balance with runners in scoring position."

Bianco wasn't pleased his offense could never get going.

"It was a disappointing night offensively where we normally hit with runners in scoring position, and we didn't tonight," Bianco said. "Throughout the game I thought we hit some hard balls, but we didn't get those swings off with runners in scoring position. They really buckled down and made some pitches, and we didn't have very good at-bats with runners in scoring position."

Matt Smith agreed with his head coach.

"Their pitchers did a good job and competed well," Smith said. "On offense we didn't get runners in, and we didn't hit that good tonight."

Goforth (0-1) got the loss, while the third of three Cardinal pitchers, Holland (2-0), got the win.

Louisville junior lefty Dean Kiekhefer (1-0, 2.50 ERA) starts Saturday's 1:30 p.m. game, while senior righty Aaron Barrett (3-0, 0.98 ERA) goes for the Rebels.


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