Ryan McCoy with a mighty swing for UofL. He was hitless for the night but his teammates had 13 of them (Courier-Journal photo).

So sad those long faces on Kentucky fans when they are on the losing end against the University of Louisville. So much worse losing to UofL than anyone else. But so satisfying for Card Nation.

At least one longtime UofL fan, however, was apprehensive ab0ut tuning into the University of Louisville vs. Kentucky baseball game on Tuesday. Coming on the heels of four consecutive losses, the outlook was not good against a program ranked 11th in one national poll.

The Observer, waiting nine innings for the roof to cave in, should have had more confidence in the coaching abilities of Dan McDonnell. More than 700 wins in 17 seasons do not come easily, suggesting an exceptional level of expertise. But the recent lack of success was depressing, suggesting UofL was going nowhere this season after such a promising start.

All of which made the Cardinals’ 7-0 win over the Wildcats in Lexington so much more gratifying. That and the fact that UK was having an extraordinarily good season, with a strong RPI rating and a candidate for an NCAA Regional. But that UK team never showed up before a record crowd of 5,292 at Kentucky Pride Park. The Wildcats were feckless and lost, gong down without much of a fight.

Louisville used six pitchers in the four-hit shutout, the 14th win over Kentucky in the last 17 games. Evan Webster (2-2) started on the mound, pitching a pair of scoreless frames. Kade Grundy and Kaleb Corbett followed with two scoreless innings of their own. Patrick Forbes faced the minimum in a scoreless seventh, while Kayden Campbell handled the eighth and Tate Kuehner pitched a perfect ninth.

Corbett actually finishing two innings for the first time in recent gave reason for hope. Looking good, the Fern Creek kid obviously motivated by the rivalry. Campbell surviving a hit batsman and a walk in the eighth. Kuehner slamming the door shut on the Wildcats in the ninth.

A think one-run lead through six innings.  Jack Payton’s solo home run leading off the second inning was the only run of the game heading into the seventh. That’s when UofL bats came alive, with Isaac Humphrey doubling the lead with the Cardinals’ third single to start the inning. A passed ball allows Logan Beard to score and Payton singles to bring Humphrey home with a 4-0 lead.

One inning later, Gavin Kilen lines a doubl to the left-centerfield wall with a pair in scoring position to add two more to the lead and Tyeler Hawkins adds still another run with a pinch-hit solo homer in the ninth.

A happy 75-mile bus ride on the return to Louisville and Belknap Campus for the UofL baseball team. Getting the season back on the right track with shutout of Kentucky.


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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

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