From his view in the new hospitality room of the press box, Tom Jurich had to be elated. The University of Louisville baseball team had just scored six runs in the seventh inning and fans were dancing on the party deck.
Something special is in reach and everyone in the crowd of 2,581 people sensed it.
The UofL bats would finally come to life after being stifled through the first six innings by Miami’s No. 1 pitcher Bryan Radziewski, managing only two hits while being held scoreless. Radziewski would bean Coco Johnson, give up a single to Jeff Gardner, hit Cole Sturgeon to load the bases and the Cardinals would begin to revolve around the bases.
The big hit was delivered by Nick Ratajcyzk, a bases clearing, three-run double capping off a six-run inning, sending Radziewski to the shower and setting UofL up for a 6-4 victory and a shot at a possible Regional championship on Sunday against the winner of the Miami-Oklahoma State game at noon.
“I’ve been looking for that kind of hit all year honestly,” Ratajczak said. “I’ve been working a lot this week on having my short swing, opposite field approach and just get a solid barrel on the ball. I think that was the best time to have it come.”
Jeff Thompson, UofL’s 6-foot-6 righthanded pitcher, would allow Miami only one run through six innings but the win would go to Kyle Funkhouser. Nick Burdi would record his 15th save of the season.
If Louisville wins Sunday’s 4 p.m. game, the Cardinals advance to an NCAA Super Regional. If the unspeakable occurs, they will play Monday at 7 p.m.