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Cards survive Hoosiers, 9-7, advance to face Illinois State

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Ace reliever Michael Avene inexplicably tossed

Survive and advance.

One down, two to go, starting with a 6:00 PM Ernie Banks” Let’s Play Two first pitch against Illinois State.

It was a day when the Cards’ post season bats finally woke up in the bottom of the 2d. A Danny Oriente double in the gap tallied two. After a walk and a sacrifice bunt, a Justin Lavey single plated two more.

The Hoosier loaded the sacks in the top of the 3d. But, coming up huge, starter Bobby Miller struck out the next two IU batters, then induced an inning ending fly out to center to end the threat.

The Cardinals added two more in their half on an Alex Binelas homer.

Miller quelled another potential rally in the top of the 5th, striking out two to end the inning.

Really aggressive base running by Tyler Fitzgerald -- He scored from 2d on a routine infield out -- gave U of L a 7-0 lead after five.

IU came back with 4 in the 6th, but Adam Elliott calmed things down somewhat.

Louisville kept hitting and scoring, pushing ahead 9-4, heading into the 8th. During the top of which inning, Drew Campbell made what turned out to be the game saving play, robbing Ryan Fineman of a homer. IU did score a run, cutting the lead to 9-5.

Matters got really scary in the IU 8th, the Hoosiers scoring on a botched DP, forcing Coach Dan McDonnell to bring in closer Michael Avene to close the inning.

Then the game went Alfred E. Newman furcshlungener in the 9th. McAvene lost his mojo, gave up a homer and RBI single, and was forced to hurl way too many pitches. Then, after mildly protesting -- if that -- the Cards’ closer was tossed without warning by thin skinned Ken Langford after a 2-2 pitch was called a ball.

McAvene is now suspended four games, per NCAA rules.

Michael Kirian closed the deal.

More details, maybe, after this whole regional plays out.

-- Seedy K