After a 1-2-3 top of the 8th, the host Tigers are down to their final outs. It will take a miracle comeback to overtake the Cards 10-run lead... assuming they don't take any on in the bottom of the inning.
Which isn't something I would bet against.
Bottom 8... 16-6 Louisville, and the Cards have 21 hits
Mizzou didn't score in their part of the 3rd, but they sure did help to stir up an already boiling pot.
It appeared that Tiger LF Aaron Senne stepped on Cardinal 1B Daniel Burton's leg as he tried to beat out the second part of a double play. Cards Manager Dan McDonnel came out to complain, and the umpires talked to both dugouts.
Then, as the inning ended, third base ump Bill Speck came over to talk to the U of L bench which apparently hadn't stopped jawing. McDonnel came out and back up his squad, and we are back to baseball at the moment.
Cards added one in the 2nd... it is now 9-5 in the bottom of the 3rd.
Finally, Mizzou gets out of the first inning, but not before U of L brings eight around to score.
Mizzou is clearly pressing in the field, with a big throwin error by Kyle Mach accounting for at least one of those runs coming around to score.
The thing about Mizzou is that they haven't won with pitching; they've won by gritting it out on offense. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Tigers make a run (if the first inning didn't totally deflate them.)
Columbia, MO: Regional Championship Set In Columbia
Today will be the third time in three days that Missouri takes on Louisville with the two teams splitting the first two contests.
The Cardinals certainly swung momentum back their way by defeating the Tigers 4-3 last night. Besides the emotional lift, the crowd in Columbia is noticeably smaller as the tournament creeps into the work week.
Someone should tell Cards 3B Chris Dominguez to shove a sock in his mouth.
After taunting the 1B and the catcher while rounding the bases, he preceded to dance back out on to the field as he returned to his position, before completely turning to face the Mizzou dugout and exchange some words.
The real question is... how is he still in this game? The umpires, and furthermore, the NCAA reps have really botched this decision. Dominguez should be taking a shower.
But at least the crowd is riding him for it; after a foul out by Evan Frey, Dominguez was roundly taunted every time he touched the ball as it moved about the horn.
What a weekend for Louisville reliever Kyle Hollander. He's making his third appearance of the weekend, and his second today for the Cards, and he retired both Kyle Mach and Gary Ardnt with runners on second and third.
The last out brought the Louisville team out of the dugout to greet their screamin' dealer. He's gone 5.1 IP and has yet to allow a hit.
... and it just gets worse for Isaiah Howes. He just won the golden sombrero as he struck out swinging yet again in his fourth consecutive at-bat.
Hard to believe it's still only 2-2 here in Columbia with the way these offenses have been churning out runs. U of L has scored 26 runs in three games, but Mizzou has turned some fine defensive plays to help keep them from piling up again.
Louisville has turned two big double plays on their end to keep the hot Mizzou bats off the board. Of course, Tiger fans would contest a call back in the 5th as it appeared that Chris Cates was only in the vicinity of the 2nd base bag as he made the turn.
Both teams have called to the pen, and it should be another great finish with a Regional Championship on the line.
Mizzou pitcher Ian Berger has given up five hits to the Cardinals, but they have only one run to show for it. And with the bases loaded, he just got the Ville's Chris Cates to roll over a fastball and ground into a 5-3 DP.
Louisville can't afford to squander these sort of chances with the way the Tiger crowd has responded to big plays. Not to mention, it seems unlikely that U of L starter Colby Wark will go much longer forcing the Louisville bullpen, which has already been taxed this weekend, to try and pick up the slack.
Boomer Whiting and Evan Frey are battling for All-Tourney honors, and so far Boomer has one-upped Frey making a rangining play in right-center and plating a run from second on a base hit. Frey made a nice diving catch, but Boomer has the edge in my mind at the moment. The U of L centerfielder ran a 10.5 100 Meter Dash in high school, and it's fun to watch him get to fly balls.
There have been some ridiculous homers here in Columbia, and LF Aaron Senne just added a bomb to the highlight reel. He pulled the ball deep down the rightfield line and down the hill beyond Taylor Stadium.
They fell 8-7 against the Louisville Cardinals here in Columbia, Mo. After going down 8-5, they scored once in the 7th and once in the 8th, but couldn't make lightning strike thrice as they stranded a runner on first.
This is the first time that Miami has lost a regional under Head Coach Jim Morris.
The Cardinal win sets up a Louisville/Mizzou rematch tonight at 6:30. I'll have my thoughts on that one after I enjoy some of the barbecue cooking up with the tailgaters getting ready for tonight's big game.
It isn't final yet, but it certainly looks like Mizzou will take Game #4 as they've added two in the top of the 9th.
Louisville's Chris Dominguez was brought in from 3B to pitch, but he quickly returned to the hot corner after retiring only one of five Tiger batters. Evan Frey touched Dominguez for a single, and a Brock Bond double brought him home. After getting Ryan Lollis to ground out, he walked Jacob Priday and hit Trevor Coleman.
But with the bases loaded, reliever Gavin Logsdon walked John McKee to bring in the second run of the inning before getting Aaron Senne to pop out and Kyle Mach to line out to right center.
It could have been much worse for the birds who will need three in the bottom of the ninth: last licks for Louisville... 7-4 Tigers.
After Mizzou put their first four runs on the board in a marathon sixth inning, Louisville is right back at it in the bottom half of the inning.
Louisville just has so much speed and are so aggressive that they can score extremely quickly. Mizzou RF Ryan Lollis did a nice job cutting off a single by Jorge Castillo, but Isaiah Howes still scored from second base to tie things back up at four. We already saw Howes cut down stealing once, but the collective short memory of U of L baserunners really gives them an edge.
And now both starting pitchers will have made their exit, both failing to record an out in the sixth inning. Rick Zagone will get the hook after a wild pitch and a walk to Chris Dominguez.
It will be Kyle Gibson out of the pen for Mizzou with two Cards on base behind him. From a neutral fan's perspective, this has been a great game thus far between two teams that are leaving it all out on the field.
We've got a good one here in Columbia. Both teams have pulled their fair share of Roger Dorn impressions in the field, but DH Jacob Priday just got into a mistake pitch by Justin Marks to look more like Pedro Serrano. It went deep to left-center in about the blink of an eye.
With a man aboard in front of him, it makes it 3-2 Cards in the 6th.
If there's one thing I've learned about watching college ball it would be that you can't squander chances. If there is a runner on third with less than two outs, he has got to come in to give your team a chance.
Of, if you load the bases with one out, you can't put the ball on the ground.
But that's what UL freshman leftie Justin Marks forced Aaron Senne to do, and it's still 3-0 Cards in the bottom of the 4th.
I like what I've seen from Marks thus far, and when he's thrown his last pitch I'll write a blog just about the spectacular frosh.
Louisville has pushed another two runs across, and all three have come with two outs up on the board. Yesterday against Miami, they scored the first nine runs against the Canes with two outs.
Quickly one of my favorite players of this regional is Chris Cates, the UL shortstop. He is 5'3", the smallest player in Division-1A baseball. A guy so small has a tiny strike zone, and he really works the count as the teams nine hole hitter, acting as a second leadoff guy to compliment Boomer Whiting. Cates has also only missed one game in his entire collegiate career, the second game of a double-header his freshman year.
He's played in 223 straight games since. He reached on an error and scored the last inning, and despite his size, his range has been impressive at short.
Columbia, MO: The Ol' 9-6 DP & the Cards Strike First
In the bottom of the 2nd it was Mizzou starter Rick Zagone dealing to LF Isaiah Howes, and Howes won the battle with a base hit. Then DH Jorge Castillo flied out to deep rightfield and Howes tried to take the extra base, but a perfect throw from Ryan Lollis cut down Howes for an untraditional 9-6 DP.
The Cards were kicking themselves a batter later when 3B Chris Dominguez tripled off the wall. But Pete Rodriguez drilled a first pitch fastball back up the box, and Dominguez scored.
Columbia, MO: The Thin Line Between "Brave" and "Stupid"
Danny Gil toed it pretty closely in a wild finish here at Taylor Stadium between Miami and Kent St.
After Chris Tremblay led off with a double off the wall, in a one run game the right play was to ask Doug Sanders to bunt him over.
It was a fastball from Danny Gil, and the ball didn't die off the bat. Gil got off the ground in a hurry, and fired another fastball to third.
Gus Menendez was covering the bag, and had to come off to grab Gil's throw. In one fluid movement, he caught the ball while applying a sweeping tag on Tremblay while taking the better part of his cleats.
One out. A pop out, and a big strike out later, Miami holds on, and Kent St. is ready for some bbq.
It is now 8-1 Miami behind a strong pitching performance from Enrique Garcia. Garcia has thrown a 1-2-3 inning in six of the seven he has hit the mound. Garcia has three-hit the Golden Flashes and hasn't walked a batter since the 3rd.
Meanwhile, Miami seems to have learned from yesterday's collapse and have kept at it at the plate scoring in every inning except the 3rd and 5th. They just added a run here in the 8th, and have led off the last three innings with a double.
It will be a long weekend for the Canes as they need to win four straight, so here come some reserves. St. Louis native Jason Hagerty will get an at-bat for Jemile Weeks. Hagerty grounded out, but it was still nice for the Missourian to get a chance to play in front of his family.
Despite the fact that Evan Smith has gone 5 IP in everyone of his 13 prior starts, he's been pulled by Head Coach Scott Stricklin with men on the corners and 1 out. A little strange considering he was only a groundball away from ending the inning, but in an elimination game Stricklin won't take that chance.
Let's see if the Canes are more effective hitting against Kent State's bullpen than they were against Louisville's.
Kent State loaded the bases thanks to two Enrique Garcia walks and got some help from a Garcia wild pitch and a Richard O'Brien passed ball. Then 2B Doug Sanders drove in Kent State's first run with a sac fly to deep center.
The Canes have three hits, two of them by Mark Sobolewski who continues his hot hitting. Sobolewski hit a homer to lead off the second, and then singled to start the fourth.
Columbia, MO: Soggy, Cloudy Setting for First Elimination Game
Today in Columbia and in 15 other sites across the country a team's season will end.
Here it will either be the #2 Miami Hurricanes or the #4 Kent St. Golden Flashes. Miami lost to Louisville after clamming up after the third inning. Kent St. looked like they could hang with Mizzou about as long before the long ball doomed them. I'm not sure either team is too confident in their 'pens after the opening day, and both teams will be looking for distance from their starters.
Columbia, MO: John McKee Makes It Rain In Columbia
Well, the rain abated here in Columbia, but that didn't stop Mizzou 1B John McKee from hitting a rainbow shot off the top of the scoreboard in left-- with the bases juiced. Chris Carpenter struggled, walking two, and giving up a single to bring up McKee who just gave the Tigers a 6-0 lead.
After pitching three hitless innings, Kent St. RHP Chris Carpenter has giving up three straight hits-- a single, a double, and a single-- and Mizzou has gone on top 2-0. Trevor Coleman picked up two RBI with the last hit, and with a rocking stadium, and no one out, it could have been trouble for the Flashes. However, Carpenter forced a fly out and a double play to escape further harm.
But meanwhile, rain has begun to fall here in Columbia and umbrellas have started to pop-up from the record crowd at Taylor Stadium. With the game moving as fast as it has so far though, it might be done before the rest of the rain gets here.
This game is barely 40 minutes old, but we're already through three and a half innings of play between the Tigers and the Golden Flashes. Thus far it's been the pitcher's duel I expected... in today's first game.
But Kent State's Chris Carpenter has thrown like the man with the same name who plays down the road at Busch Stadium. He has yet to allow a hit, and after walking two in the bottom of the 3rd, he struck out Brock Bond to end the inning. Bond has been one of the toughest Tiger's to cut down on strikes.
Meanwhile Aaron Crown has allowed only one hit, and faced the minimum in four innings pitched.
Game 2 is just an inning old here in Columbia, MO and with the host Tigers out on the field it's easy to see why a university would be eager to shell out six figures to host a regional.
There isn't a single spare seat in Taylor Stadium, and the concession stands are packed. I made the mistake of leaving the park for a bite to eat in between games, and when I came back, the nearest parking lot was the Missouri football stadium.
To wit, the following announcement was just made over the public address: "Fans, we have a record crowd here at Taylor Stadium. So to accomadate, please move as far to the center of the stands as possible."
Six up, six down. It's the Kent St. part of the 2nd inning with Mizzou LHP Aaron Crow dealing heat.
Kyle Hollander threw four innings of hitless ball, and retired 12 straight to set up closer Trystan Magnuson in the ninth. Magnuson surrendered a hit to Mark Sobolewski, but got out of the 9th to preserve the Cards 13-7 lead.
Prior to Sobolewski's hit, Miami did not score since the 2nd inning, did not record a hit since the 3rd, and did not reach base since the 4th. And that was after they chased the Big East Pitcher of the Year, Zack Pitts.
More thoughts on this game later, but now I'm going to hit the Mizzou snack stand before the Tigers take on the Kent State Golden Flashes
Louisville... 13-15-2; W - Gavin Logsdon (2-0)
Miami... 7-11-1; L - Kyle Bellamy (0-1)
Offensive players of the game: UL 1B Daniel Burton (3-5, 4 RBI, BB) or UL C Derrick Alfonso (5-6, 2 RBI, 3 R)
Another homer from Louisville, this time its Isaiah Howes in the 7th. 10-7 Louisville.
Miami hasn't scored since a six run second inning, and the closer for Louisville Trystan Magnuson is a stud. He brings a .92 ERA into the game, and the fifth year senior has been receiving calls from Theo Epstein and Leo Mazzone.
7-8-9 due up in the bottom of the 7th for the Canes.
Miami's O'Brien Goes Yard, Weeks Triples in 3, Pitts Chased
Sr. C Richard O'Brien lined a 2-2 fastball deep to left-centerfield and the Canes now trail by one, 3-2.
OB has put up some sick stats for the Canes over the last 14 games: 11 hits, 3 2b, 4 HR and 19 RBI.
A Dave DiNatale single, and a Blake Tekotte 2b brought Canes fans (and Columbia natives) to their feet as Miami had two runners in scoring position with only one out. Roger Tomas popped out, and Yonder Alonso got an intentional free pass.
Then Jemile Weeks smoked a 3-2 pitch to the wall and slid in with a triple that cleared the bases. 5-3 UM.
Dennis Raben was the fifth batter of the game to be hit by a pitch, and the Canes have brought nine to the plate in the bottom of the 2nd.
Mark Sobolewski then drove in his 51st ribbie of the season, and Gus Menendez followed with his 23rd.
And that's it for Big East Pitcher of the Year, Zack Pitts. Six have scored in the inning, and two are on with two outs here in the 2nd, with the Canes on top 7-3.
The Canes have certainly seen their fair share of good pitchers this season, so it's no surprise they came out swining against Zack Pitts. After Blake Tekotte's fly out, Roger Tomas and Yonder Alonso singled. Then Jemile Weeks was hit by a pitch (the third batter this game to be hit) and all of a sudden the bases were loaded for Dennis Raben.
Raben brought in the first run of the ball game with a sac fly.
A nice defensive play by Chris Cates took a hit away from Mark Sobolewski, but the Canes lead now 1-0.
Louisvilled had runners on 1st and 2nd with no one out, then later loaded the bases with two outs, but failed to score in the top of the 1st.
Boomer Whiting reached with a bunt single in a full count, and Logan Johnson was hit by a pitch (the 27th time this season). Then Daniel Burton hit a hard groundball to Gus Menendez at 3rd. Menendez stepped on the bag and fired to first to complete the twin-killing.
Then Maine walked Isaiah Howes, and hit Jorge Castillo with a pitch to load the bases. But Chris Dominguez flied out to right, and Maine walked away unscathed.
Only one hit, bases left loaded. No score here in the bottom of the 1st inning.
It's a beautiful day at Taylor Stadium here in Columbia, Mo., where hopefully the rain will hold off. It was hot and humid this morning, but the cloud cover has moved off for now.
LHP Scott Maine will take the hill for Miami, and his counterpart will be Big East Pitcher of the Year RHP Zack Pitts. The line-up cards are all printed out, and as always, both teams have some interesting storylines to follow.
The Columbia, Mo. Regional should certainly be a competitive one as it features two 40-win squads in the University of Missouri and Louisville, a conference champion team in Kent State, and one of college baseball's traditional powerhouses, the University of Miami. There is no other sport that values stats more than baseball, and in this preview, that's what I will rely on to analyze each time. I'm looking forward to a great weekend of baseball off of I-70, and can't wait for the first pitch as the Canes take on the Cards on Friday at 1 p.m. CST.