Tigers, Louisville Win First Round of Regionals
Missouri (41-16) will play third seed Louisville (41-20) in the winner's bracket of the double-elimination tournament Saturday night with fourth seed Kent State (33-25) playing Miami (36-23). Daniel Burton had three hits and four RBIs, including the tie-breaking two-run single in the fifth, to lead Louisville to a 13-7 come-from-behind victory -- its first win in NCAA play -- over second seed Miami.
Crow (9-3) worked to the minimum in the first five innings in bouncing back from a poor start against Baylor in Missouri's Big 12 tournament-opening loss. Greg Rohan's two-run homer in the seventh was the only damage against Crow, who had eight strikeouts and no walks. Crow struck out the side in the ninth after right fielder Ryan Lollis misplayed Andrew Davis' fly ball for a three-base error.
"From the beginning he had good pop," catcher Trevor Coleman said. "I knew he was going to have a good outing, just like the rest of them." Chris Carpenter allowed six runs on six hits in five-plus innings with five strikeouts and four walks for the Golden Flashes, who lost for only the second time in 18 games. "Missouri is a team that's going to make you pay for mistakes," Carpenter said. "That's my fault. I take total blame."
McKee's first career grand slam came in the sixth, put Missouri ahead 6-0 and chased Carpenter (3-1), projected as a first-round draft pick. McKee had gone five games without an RBI and totaled one multi-RBI game in Big 12 play. Coleman, who was 1-for-13 the previous four games without an RBI, hit a two-run single in the fourth for the game's first runs.
Missouri's first-ever game as a regional host drew a Taylor Stadium record crowd of 3,481. Football coach Gary Pinkel, a Kent State alumnus, watched from behind the plate. "It was awesome," Crow said. "It really pumped me up." The crowd worked against Kent State. "Playing in front of 35,000 fans against you definitely gets into your head when things start going wrong," said Carpenter, who added an extra zero to the attendance.
Jorge Castillo hit a game-tying three-run home run in the fourth and Derrick Alfonzo was 5-for-6 with a homer and two RBIs for Louisville, which overcame Zack Pitts' shakiest outing of the season with a come-from-behind effort that ended Miami's 10-game winning streak in regional openers. "We wanted to come out and make a statement that we're here," Alfonzo said. "I think we all had confidence we could come back, the way we were swinging the bat."
Jemile Weeks had a three-run triple and Richard O'Brien homered for second seed Miami, making its 35th consecutive appearance overall. The Hurricanes have won 13 straight regional titles, rallying from the loser's bracket the last time they dropped a regional opener in 1996.
Miami starter Scott Maine allowed seven runs, four earned, in four innings. The Hurricanes hit six batters overall, four by Maine, to tie a regional record. Louisville's Logan Johnson was hit his first three at-bats, scoring twice, and has been hit 28 times overall this season. Miami coach Jim Morris and players complained that Johnson gets hit so often because he crowds the plate. "The umpire had to tell them a lot of times to scoot back," said O'Brien, the catcher. "If he'd gotten any closer, if you would have hit him in the knee it would have been a strike."
Pitts, the Big East pitcher of the year, allowed seven runs on eight hits in 1 2/3 innings. He also hit two batters in an outing that hiked his ERA 56 points to 2.34. Gavin Logsdon (2-0) allowed two hits in 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Pitts, and Kyle Hollander followed with four perfect innings, striking out five. Miami was limited to three hits the last seven innings.
Miami loaded the bases three times and Louisville twice in the first two innings. The Hurricanes had 12 batters in a six-run second, the highlight a three-run double by Jemile Weeks, that put them ahead 7-3. Weeks, a younger brother of Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks, is 8-for-16 his last four games with four triples and nine RBIs.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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