Elimination Game vs. Illinois State Sunday at 11 a.m. CT - View Bracket
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--- Louisville freshman right-hander Matt Koch and junior right-handed closer Neil Holland held Vanderbilt to just four hits and combined to strikeout eight in a 7-1 win Saturday evening at Jim Patterson Stadium.
The Cardinals (50-12) advanced to the championship round, while the Commodores (42-18) will play Illinois State (32-23) in an elimination game tomorrow at 11 a.m. CT/Noon ET. The Redbirds beat Saint Louis 8-3 in the first game of the day to end the Billikens season.
Koch limited Vanderbilt to just one run on three hits in six innings with three strikeouts and a walk to improve to 3-0 on the year. Holland came on in the seventh and limited the Dores to a hit in three innings with five strikeouts and a walk to pick up his NCAA leading 17th save of the year.
Phil Wunderlich's three-run homer in the bottom of the first staked the Cardinals to a 3-0 lead. Adam Duvall singled with one out and Andrew Clark walked to put runners on first and second. Ryan Wright lined out to right, before Wunderlich crushed VU starter Sonny Gray's first pitch offering over the fence in left-center. It was Wunderlich's 21st homer of the year and the Cardinals 88th of the year.
"I was trying to get the fastball in there, and he jumped on the first pitch and that's the game," said Gray. "Walk the guy with two outs and the next batter hits a home run, and that's how it went today."
A throwing error by Aaron Westlake allowed the Cards to extend the fourth inning and plate a run on a RBI single by Ryan Wright.
Jason Esposito put the Commodores on the board in the fourth with a solo homer over the picnic pavilion in left field. It was his 10th homer of the year and the first since hitting the game-winning solo homer in the 17th inning against Louisville on May 11.
Louisville added three more runs in the seventh with Wunderlich hitting a RBI double and Josh Richmond chipping in with a sacrifice fly RBI.
"Well I think it's pretty self-explanatory," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "They've got a kid, a freshman, who went out there and pitched well, held us to basically three hits. Just a solo home run was what we came up with, so you have to give credit to them. They pitched well and played good defense, and our guy didn't pitch a shutout, so we lost 7-1. That's basically what it was."
Gray allowed seven runs, six earned, on nine hits in 7.1 innings with eight strikeouts and two walks to drop to 9-5 on the year.