A huge fifth inning by Louisville was too much for Kent State to overcome Sunday, as the Flashes fell to the Cardinals, 12-6, in the NCAA Lubbock Regional elimination game, a loss that ended their season.
Louisville scored its first run in the second inning when Danny Oriente hit a grounder into left field with runners at the corners. Kent State responded in their half of the second when Michael Turner hit a sacrifice fly to left field to send home Nick Elsen and even the game at 1-1.
The Cardinals added two more runs in the fourth inning.
Kent State’s starter, Eli Kraus, was replaced by Connor Wollersheim in the fifth inning after giving up a single and a walk, which led to an offensive explosion by the Cardinals.
Louisville batted around and plated six runs during the inning, a number that Kent State could not surpass.
The Flashes attempted a comeback in the sixth inning. With two runners on, Mason Mamarella was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Josh Hollander and Nick Kanavas scored after an error by Louisville second baseman Tyler Fitzgerald.
Devin Mann extended the Cardinals’ lead with a solo home run to lead off the eighth. Kanavas also hit a solo homer for the Flashes to lead off the bottom of the eighth, and with one out in the bottom half of the same inning, Parks drew a walk and Pete Schuler punched a homer over the wall in right center to add two more runs for the Flashes and cut the score to 10-6.
Louisville scored two runs in the ninth inning. Although Kent State loaded the bases during the final inning after Turner drew a walk and Brad Hamilton and Mamarella hit consecutive singles, the Flashes couldn't scrape anymore runs across.
The Flashes finished the season with a record of 40-18. The Flashes have finished with 40 wins in five of their past 10 seasons, with their victory over New Mexico State on Saturday ending the Mid-American Conference's 11-game losing streak in the NCAA Tournament.
Ariel Stahler is a sports reporter. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.