May 17, 2001
Morgan Bojorquez was hit by a pitch to force in the game-winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning as No. 6 seed Louisville defeated No. 2 Houston, 6-5, to oust the Cougars from the Conference USA Baseball Championship on Thursday afternoon at Zephyr Field.
Louisville will play the loser of the South Florida-Southern Miss game on Saturday at 9 a.m.
Houston built a 5-1 lead through five innings, but the Cardinals chipped away. Trailing 5-4 entering their final at bat, Louisville catcher Fernando Isa collected an infield single and was sacrificed to second. A walk to pinch-hitter J.T. LaFountain was followed by a sharp ground-out which advanced both runners. The Cougars opted to intentionally walk Adam Haley to load the bases for third baseman Mike Budak. Budak looked at three straight balls before taking a strike. The next pitch was low and outside, walking Budak and forcing in the tying run.
"It's tough [to take pitches with the bases loaded and the game on the line]," Budak said. "He threw me a 3-1 curve, but I was taking all the way. I was going to wait until 3-2 when he would have to give me a fast ball. It's the greatest feeling to win like this. Our team showed a lot of character to stay in the game like we did." The win came one batter later, when Bojorquez was plunked with a 1-0 breaking ball, scoring LaFountain with the winning run. Houston, which lost in the opening round to Southern Miss, opened the scoring in the first. Leadoff man Michael Bourn singled, stole second and advanced to third on an errant throw to second from Isa before scoring on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Hyung Cho, giving the Cougars a 1-0 lead.
Louisville tied things up in the bottom of the third when shortstop Adam Haley singled home center fielder Mike Hook, making it 1-1.
The Cougars put up a three-spot in the top of the fourth on an RBI
single by DH Jared Green, a sacrifice fly to left off the bat of left
fielder Gabe Lucas and another RBI single by first baseman Thanos
Papavasiliou. The lead was increased to 5-1 with another unearned run in
the fifth on an RBI single by right fielder Keith Whatley.
A solo home run to left field by Budak in the eighth made it a one run ballgame in favor of Houston, 5-4.