Louisville ace Justin Amlung pitched six solid innings in the 107 degree Arizona heat Friday night before Travis Tingle took over to shut the door on a 3-2 win over New Mexico State in the Tucson Regional opener.
The Aggies took an early 2-0 lead into the fourth frame and had several opportunities to tack on more runs, but Amlung and Tingle--both Louisville natives--pitched a hell of a game, allowing just one earned run between them. Tingle couldn't have pitched better in earning his first save of the season, retiring all nine batters he faced in three innings of relief. Perhaps just as important, Tingle's extended appearance keeps other bullpen arms fresh for the remainder of Regional play while New Mexico State faces the challenge of regrouping in the loser's bracket with six fatigued pitchers.
At the plate, U of L second baseman Nick Ratajczak went 2-for-5, with one run and the game-winning RBI on a two-out double in the fifth inning. Left-fielder Cole Sturgeon and right-fielder Stewart Ijames knocked in the other two Louisville runs.
The Cards improved to 10-8 all time in NCAA Regional games and 4-2 in opening round games. Friday's win also clinched Louisville's fifth 40-win season in six years under Dan McDonnell. He good.
Up next for Louisville, top-seeded and 8th-ranked Arizona who pounded Missouri 15-3 last night. The Cards and Cats are scheduled to start at 11pm ET tonight on ESPNU and ESPN3.com.