LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Cards stayed alive with a win over Auburn in an elimination game of the College World Series.
Play was suspended Tuesday afternoon following the fourth inning due to rain. Prior to the weather delay, Louisville seemed to have all of the momentum.
Tyler Fitzgerald, who just a day prior said he wanted to get things rolling for his team early, hit a home run to left center in the top of the first.
Auburn tied it up in the bottom of the second with an RBI ground out. But a series of mistakes by the Tigers helped UofL take the 4-1 lead in the top of the fourth.
Justin Lavey drew a bases-loaded walk from Auburn reliever Elliott Anderson. Then Auburn second baseman Ryan Bliss committed both a throwing and a fielding error on a Lucas Dunn ground ball, allowing Dunn to reach second base and two more runs to come home.
Skipper Dan McDonnell went with Adam Elliott to start for Louisville when play resumed on Wednesday morning. Elliott finished with two innings pitched, one hit, no runs, one walk, three strikeouts and 32 pitches, 21 for strikes.
Michael McAvene entered the game in the seventh inning. McAvene’s appearance in Omaha was his first since his controversial ejection during the Cards’ regional win over Indiana.
McAvene retired the first two batters he faced, then gave up back-to-back base hits, the second of which was an RBI double to Tigers designated hitter Conor Davis. Davis’s hit brought Dunn home and put the Tigers within two, 4-2, in the bottom of the seventh.
But Louisville would strike back in the top of the eighth, when Drew Campbell hit an RBI single to left field, to bring Jake Snider home and put the Cards up 5-2.
Auburn threatened in the bottom of the 8th. The Tigers loaded the bases with three consecutive singles off McAvene before a 96 MPH fastball from McAvene ended the threat.
Sophomore lefty Michael Kirian replaced McAvene to start the 9th. A one out home run by Conor Davis closed the margin to 5-3. The homer was only the second surrendered by Kirian this season.
The Tigers weren’t done. After a popup to short by Will Holland for the second out, a double by Steven Williams brought Rankin Woley to the plate with the tying run. Kirian sealed the win by striking out Woley on a 96 MPH fastball.
Next up for the Cardinals is another elimination game. They will face the loser of this afternoon’s Vanderbilt-Mississippi State game at 8 p.m. (Eastern time) tomorrow.