McKinnon's Walk-Off Homer Caps 9-8 Thriller

 
Ryan McKinnon

Ryan McKinnon

April 25, 2005

Box Score

LOUISVILLE, KY - The University of Louisville baseball team scored six runs with two out in the ninth to tie the game at six, notched a single tally in the 12th inning to again tie things up, and down a run in the 13th, Ryan McKinnon's towering walk-off, two-run home run vaulted the Cardinals to a 9-8 win over Western Kentucky in a rare Monday night game.

Marcus Ross's three-run home run to left in the first gave the Hilltoppers (13-27) a 3-0 lead.

A solo shot by Tim Grogan in the third made it 4-0 Toppers, and Casey Hamilton's two-run shot in the sixth made it 6-0.

The Cards (21-16) opened the ninth with a double by Logan Johnson, followed by a walk to Greg Taylor. Two outs later, Boomer Whiting was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Nick Haley drew a walk to push across a run, and J.T. LaFountain was plunked, plating another, making it 6-2 with two out in the ninth.

Jorge Castillo's infield singled plated the third run of the inning, and Isaiah Howes' two-run single put the Cards to within one. Johnson stepped to the plate and promptly singled through the right side to tie the game at six.

Grogan's second solo home run of the night made it 7-6 Western in the 12th.

With two down in the bottom of the 12th, Whiting walked and Haley was hit by a pitch. LaFountain worked the count to 3-2 before lashing a single to left field that scored Whiting and again tied things up.

In the Topper half of the 13th, four walks by U of L pitcher Brian Halford pushed across a run for an 8-7 WKU lead.

In the bottom half of the 13th Howes singled to left and moved to second on a sac bunt by Johnson. McKinnon then drilled his fourth home run of the season well over the grass berm in left center to secure the first U of L win in Patterson Stadium and the sixth final-at-bat win of the season for Louisville.

 

 

Halford (2-1) got the win, allowing a run in an inning on four walks and a strikeout.

Cardinal starter Jake Smith fanned a career-high and Louisville season-high nine, but was touched for six runs on eight hits and a walk in 5.1 innings. The pitching star for the Cards was Justin Valdes who twirled 6.2 innings of relief, allowing a run on four hits and two walks, while matching a career-high with eight strikeouts. He set down 13 in order at one point.

Cardinal pitchers fanned a season-high 18 Hilltoppers.

Howes lead the 15-hit attack with a 4 for 7 evening, driving in two. Haley, LaFountain, Johnson and Cates each had two hits on the night.

WKU reliever Garrett Stembridge (1-1) took the loss, allowing the two 13th-inning runs on two hits while recording one out.

The Cardinals host Murray State Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. at Jim Patterson Stadium. Admission is free.

    American Athletic Conference NCAA University of Louisville
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