NCAA Louisville Texas A M Baseball

Louisville's Christian Knapczyk (9) reacts as he slides safely into second with a double as Texas A&M infielder Ryan Targac (16) tries to apply a late tag during an NCAA college baseball super regional tournament game Saturday, June 11, 2022, in College Station, Texas.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) - Louisville's baseball team accomplished its goal of returning to the NCAA baseball tournament after missing it last year and won a regional title but fell short of the big prize -- a sixth trip to the College World Series.

Texas A&M (42-18), the No. 5 overall seed, saw to that Saturday afternoon by rallying from a two-run deficit for the second straight game to sweep the No. 12 Cardinals (41-21-1) 4-3 at Blue Bell Field in College Station, Texas. The Aggies became the first team to nail down a spot in the eight-team CWS beginning next week in Omaha, Neb.

As had been the case in Friday's opening 5-4 walk-off loss to the hosts, UofL was doomed by missed opportunities at the plate and self-inflicted damage on the mound. On Friday, Louisville pitchers issued 10 walks and hit four batters. Saturday their control improved, with just four walks, but a hit batter led to A&M's winning run.

Furthermore, although the Cards outhit A&M significantly, 13-5, they couldn't capitalize enough, stranding nine runners as they had done in the previous defeat.

"When I get a chance to reflect, this was a special year for our group," UofL coach Dan McDonnell said. "Our guys did a lot of amazing things. We just have to be a little bit better, do a little bit more. I like that challenge. It's fun.

"When I reflect on this group, they got us back on track. I'm super proud of them for that. It was a really fun year. We did some neat things. I challenge our guys to hold their heads high and build off it."

UofL took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on Dalton Rushing's two-run homer -- his 23rd of the season -- after Christian Knapczyk's double. A&M tied it at 2-2 in the third before the Cards regained the lead at 3-2 in the the fifth on singles by Knapczyk, Rushing and Jack Payton.

Again, A&M tied it when Ryan Targac sent UofL starter Riley Phillps' first pitch in the sixth inning over the left-centerfield wall.

The Aggies' decisive run came in the seventh when Trevor Warner was hit by a pitch, moved to third on a single by Jack Moss and scored on Dylan Rock's sacrifice fly.

Nowhere was the Cards' inability to move runners more frustrating than in the last three innings when the leadoff batter reached first to no avail. In the ninth, Knapczyk led off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch with two outs. But Payton struck out to end UofL's season.