Alabama State Stung By Louisville Bats
The Cardinals opened the 2017 season in style, as the Cardinals came away with a 7-0 win over Alabama State. The victory marked the Cardinals fourth straight in a season opener, and pushing Dan McDonnell’s record to 8-3 all-time in such games.
Brendan McKay had a solid 2017 debut at both the plate and the mound. McKay earned a victory with six shutout innings, and striking out nine in the process. McKay allowed the Hornets’ four hits in the game, but also went 2-of-3 at the plate with two RBI, including a home run in the fifth inning. Bryan Hoeing pitched three perfect innings in relief duty, earning the save while striking out two in the process.
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Colby Fitch and Devin Hairston also had solid outings for the Cardinals, with 2-of-5 and 2-of-4 performances at the plate, respectively. Fitch also added a two-run home run in the sixth inning, as the Cardinals began their three-game series in Clearwater with a bang. Tyler Fitzgerald added an RBI on a sac fly in the fifth inning to score Hairston. Logan Taylor capped the Louisville scoring with an RBI single that would allow Drew Ellis to come home.
Louisville Rolls to Early Big Lead, Cruises Past Maryland
The Cardinals would follow up Friday’s shutout win with a 10-7 victory over #22 Maryland. Behind some big offense in the first four innings, U of L marched to a 10-4 lead entering the fifth and never looked back.
It was a balanced effort for the Louisville offense, as seven of nine batters scored a hit, and six of nine had at least one RBI. Devin Mann led the way with two RBI, while Hairston had a pair of crucial hits that resulted in key runs. Josh Stowers added a 2-of-4 performance at the plate, including an RBI single that capped Louisville’s ten run day.
The scoring run began for Louisville when Devin Hairston nailed an RBI single to score Logan Taylor in the first. Louisville would follow it up with four more runs in the second, marked by errant defense from the Terrapins. Drew Ellis led the inning with a solo home run, and the Cardinals would follow with three more runs on a bases-loaded walk, sac fly from Devin Mann, and a wild pitch that allowed Josh Stowers to score unearned.
After Maryland responded with four runs in the third and fourth innings, Louisville marched right back with five runs. Devin Mann punched an RBI double down left field, while Devin Hairston’s single resulted in two more runs. Jake Snider and Josh Stowers would drive in a run each to close the fourth inning.
In his first weekend start of 2017, Kade McClure had a tough outing with four earned runs in 3.2 innings of work, but had seven strikeouts in the process. Jake Sparger was credited with the win (1.1 innings, 1 ER), while Lincoln Henzman was credited with the save (2.2 shutout innings, 4 K). The win continues Kade’s undefeated streak, with his last loss against Vanderbilt on May 12, 2015.
Maryland’s offense responded in the third and fourth innings. Nick Dunn batted 3-of-5 at the plate with 3 RBI in those innings, helping the Terrapins cut the deficit to 5-4. After Louisville pushed the lead to 10-4, Maryland again responded with three more runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
Despite Maryland’s consistent offense, errors doomed them. Maryland committed five errors, allowing four unearned runs in the process. Two were committed back-to-back, with an errant throw allowing Josh Stowers to score and then Logan Taylor scoring on a wild pitch that allowed Colin Lyman to reach first. Another error in the fourth inning allowed both Brendan McKay and Mann to score.
Louisville Finishes Ball State With Explosive Offense
A six-run sixth inning launched Louisville to a dominant weekend finale, as the Cardinals took down Ball State 10-4.
It was another monster outing for top prospect Brendan McKay, as the junior hit 2-of-4 at the plate with three RBI, including a two-run home run in the third inning. Drew Ellis and Zeke Pinkham also added a pair of RBIs each that helped Louisville secure back-to-back ten run games.
What keyed Louisville’s win on Sunday was a monster sixth inning. Leading 4-1, Logan Taylor nailed an RBI single. McKay scored his third RBI of the day on a bases-loaded walk, with Drew Ellis driving home two more on a double towards left field. A pinch-hitting Logan Wyatt would add an RBI groundout to score McKay, and an RBI fielder’s choice from Zeke Pinkham led to Drew Ellis making it home.
True freshman Michael McAvene, who made his first career start for U of L, finished with 3.2 innings of work, allowing one run on the afternoon while striking out four. Shane Hummel, who replaced McAvene in the third inning, was credited with the win with 1.1 innings, allowing only one hit. The Cardinals finished with five pitchers in relief, allowing three late runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
Ball State was led by Alex Maloney, who was 3-of-4 at the plate with two RBI. Maloney cut Ball State’s early 3-0 deficit with an RBI single that scored Matt Eppers. After Louisville’s six-run spree pushed the lead to 10-1, Maloney would later add another RBI single to score Griffin Hulecki, while Justin Kirkpatrick nailed a two-run RBI single in the eighth to cut the deficit to 10-4.