LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky plated two runs in the ninth inning and had the tying run at the plate but could not climb all the way back against Louisville, dropping a 5-2 decision in the first game of the Louisville Super Regional.
The Cardinals lead the best-of-three Super Regional 1-0 as the two rivals return to the field Saturday at noon with each team throwing its ace. The Cats (43-22) will turn to Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year Sean Hjelle to extend the season, while Louisville will counter with All-American dual threat Brendan McKay.
In a game eerily similar to UK's 5-3 loss at Louisville on April 4, the Cats faced an early deficit as the Cardinals (51-10) scored two runs in the first inning. Freshman left-hander Zack Thompson swiftly worked through the next two innings, striking out three. The freshman left-hander also got out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the fourth inning with his sixth - and final - strikeout of the day.
The Cardinals pushed their lead to 5-0 in the fifth on a pair of walks and a two-strike, two-out home run to left field by Drew Ellis, his 18th of the season but lefty brad Schaenzer pitched three perfect innings to keep the Cats in the game.
Evan White, who led off with a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, recorded his 29th multi-hit game this year, while Louisville native Tyler Marshall finished with two hits and a RBI for his eighth multi-hit game of season.
ON DECK: Kentucky will attempt to stave off elimination on Saturday afternoon. First pitch is set for noon and will air on ESPN.