OMAHA, Neb. – Conor Davis homered and doubled twice but Louisville defeated Auburn, 5-3, Wednesday to eliminate the Tigers from the College World Series in a game that ended 24 hours after it began.
Davis homered in the ninth to pull the Tigers within two. Steven Williams followed with a two-out double to bring the potential tying run to the plate, but Louisville ended the game with a strikeout.
“That’s been the story of us all year,” Davis said. “People have counted us out, we’ve been behind, we’ve battled back. This is what we’ve been doing all year.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow that we didn’t get where we wanted to go here, but at the same time we made history by being the first team in 22 years to get here, so it’s very exciting for our team and where it’s going with Coach Thompson.”
The Tigers and Cardinals began Tuesday at 1 p.m. but were delayed by rain for 32 minutes, then eventually suspended until Wednesday at 11 a.m. with Louisville leading 4-1 in the top of the fifth.
When play resumed, Richard Fitts struck out two in 3.0 scoreless innings before allowing a run in the eighth.
“My slider was working well. I tried to give my hitters the best chance to win and they battled it out all game,” said Fitts, a freshman who pitched a combined 5.1 innings in both Auburn College World Series games.
Davis doubled in Ryan Bliss with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to cut the Cardinals’ lead to 4-2.
Davis also doubled in the fifth, the first Auburn player to record three extra-base hits in a College World Series game, and only the second to do so in the decade TD Ameritrade Park has hosted the event.
Bliss, Williams, Matt Scheffler and Edouard Julien each recorded two hits in the Tigers’ 13-hit attack.
Louisville restored the lead to three runs in the eighth on a walk and two singles, but reliever Ryan Watson picked off a runner at second and got an inning-ending strikeout to prevent further damage.
The Tigers loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the eighth on singles by Julien, Scheffler and Kason Howell, but a strikeout ended the inning.
A day earlier, Auburn starter Bailey Horn retired the first two Cardinals before Tyler Fitzgerald’s first inning home run gave Louisville a 1-0 lead.
Julien singled to center on the 10th pitch of his at-bat to start a one-out rally in the second, advancing to third on Scheffler’s double. Howell’s fielder’s choice to second scored Julien with the tying run.
In the top of the third, Rankin Woley sprinted toward the outfield in foul territory to make a sliding over-the-shoulder catch as his knee collided with the wall.
Elliott Anderson relieved Horn with one out and the bases loaded in the top of the fourth. The Cardinals took the lead on a bases-loaded walk and added two more runs on a fielding error to take a 4-1 lead before play was suspended by weather.
Horn (4-2) took the loss. Adam Elliott (3-2) recorded the victory for Louisville (50-17).
Auburn (38-28) reached the College World Series for the first time since 1997, winning the Georgia Tech Regional and Chapel Hill Super Regional to advance to Omaha.
“I came away thinking that Auburn baseball can play in this deal without having to do anything magical,” Auburn coach Butch Thompson said. “As time goes by, I’ll see that we had the ingredients.
“We have the ingredients with our staff, we have the ingredients with the fan base. We have the ingredients with players. Our players gave us everything they’ve got.”