Down 7-5 in the seventh-inning, second-seeded Rutgers scored six runs en route to a 12-10 win over No. 3 Louisville that forces an elimination game between the two teams at 5 p.m. today with the winner earning a spot in the Big East championship game.
Cardinal starter Cody Walker struggled with control early, walking four batters in the first inning as RU scored the game's first two runs.
But the Cards answered quickly in the home half of the first. Boomer Whiting drilled the first pitch of the bottom of the first off the base of the wall in left, and Logan Johnson doubled down the right field line to put the Cards on the board. Two outs later Jorge Castillo smacked his fifth home run of the season to left center for a 3-2 U of L lead.
Then in the third, Isaiah Howes blasted the first of two-home rune he'd hit on the day to make the score 4-2. Howes is 5 for 13 so far in the tournament with three home runs and six RBI.
Big East Player of the Year Todd Frazier brought the Scarlet Knights back, connecting on a solo home run that sparked a three-run Rutgers fifth.
After Howes homered again and U of L scored on a suicide squeeze, the Cards ked 705 and the stage was set for RU's big seventh inning.
After a walk to Frazier and a single by Mike Bionde, Ryan Hill laid down a sacrifice bunt that was fielded by Cardinal reliever Skylar Meade whose throw to third was wild, allowing the first run of the inning to cross home plate. Dave Williams drove in a run with a base hit and two outs and a hit batter later, Frank Meade went deep to put the Knights up 11-7.
Four of the six runs scored in the inning by Rutgers were unearned.
Louisville rallied in the eighth, but Howes struck out with the tying run on second on the Cards didn't threaten in the ninth.
The two teams will take the field again in less than an hour with the winner getting South Florida or Connecticut tomorrow at 1 p.m. in a game that will be televised by ESPNU.