LEXINGTON, Ky. – Chris Dominguez’s RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning scored Josh Richmond with the game-winning run, giving the Louisville Cardinals a dramatic 6-5 walk-off win over No. 17 Kentucky – snapping UK’s 22-game non-conference winning streak – in front of a regular season UL record 3,652 fans at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Kentucky (30-10, 9-9 Southeastern Conference) suffered its first non-conference loss since a May 2007 setback at Evansville. The Wildcats took just its second loss in the past eight meetings between the two schools, with the lone blemishes coming at Jim Patterson Stadium. UK and UL split the season series for the second consecutive season, as UK won a 12-inning epic earlier in the year, 7-6.
Dominguez got his 13th home run of the year in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game up at 5-5 heading into the ninth inning. On the day, UL’s All-American third baseman went 2-for-4 with three RBI.
Richmond led off the ninth inning with a single up the middle, moving to second on a 3-2 sacrifice bunt from UL centerfielder Drew Haynes. UK intentionally walked John Dao to set up the double play and Andrew Albers issued a bases-loaded walk to pinch hitter Tyler Christensen. Brock Baber came on in relief, getting Justin McClanahan to strike out swinging and Dominguez ripped his game-winning single into right field.
Freshman outfielder Bryan Rose carried the Wildcats, notching three hits – including two home runs – and four RBI. Chris Wade, Tyler Howe and Keenan Wiley each contributed two-hit games, with Wiley extending his hit streak to a team-best 12 games. Howe got plunked by his 21st pitch of the season, setting a school record for hit by pitches in a season.
UK got an outstanding starting performance from sophomore James Paxton, who rebounded from his first career SEC start last Saturday, working three pre-determined innings, allowing one hit and striking out one. Clint Tilford and Aaron Lovett allowed most of the Louisville damage, as the two allowing five runs in their 4 1/3 innings. Albers and Baber tossed the final two innings, with Albers taking the loss, falling to 6-2 on the year.
Kentucky returns to action on Wednesday, resuming its five-game road swing, with a 7 p.m. ET matchup with Western Kentucky in Bowling Green. Freshman southpaw Mike Kaczmark will get the starting nod against WKU lefty Matt Hightower. Fans can catch the action in Lexington on WLAP 630-AM and in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM, with the Voice of UK Baseball Neil Price calling the action.
The Wildcats jumped on Louisville at its first opportunity, as Cowgill reached on a one-out single hit hard to the left side of the infield. After Carroll worked the count full and popped up in foul ground, Rose notched his second home run of the season, a two-run job over the right-field fence. Of Rose’s two homers this year, both have come with a 3-2 count.
Rose struck again to lead off the fourth inning, hitting his second homer of the game, a no-doubt shot over the right-field fence, giving UK a 3-0 lead.
Louisville took a 4-3 lead with four runs on two hits, three walks and one hit batter. Jeff Arnold led off with a four-pitch walk from Tilford and Stewart Ijames followed, working a five-pitch walk. Haynes scored one with a double down the left-field line and Dao scored two more with a single up the middle. With the bases loaded after two more free passes, Dominguez lofted a sacrifice fly into centerfield, scoring the go-ahead run.
Rose got his fourth RBI of the game in the seventh inning, as Carroll got hit first hit of the game, a two-out single through the right side. Rose followed, launching a double to the opposite field gap, bouncing off the wall in left-centerfield, scoring Carroll to give UK a 5-4 lead.
Dominguez evened up the game with a one-out solo blast to left field in the eighth inning, tying the game 5-5.