Following a successful three-game stretch in Florida, the Cardinals returned home to start their 2017 home slate, beginning their eight game home stretch at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Louisville Destroys EKU 19-3
The week began with thunderous authority, as U of L downed Eastern Kentucky 19-3 in its home opener. The day was led by All-American candidates Devin Hairston (4-4, three RBI) and Brendan McKay (2-4, four RBI, HR).
Jake Snider also had a noteworthy play in the fifth. The freshman singled up to center field, but an error by the center fielder resulted in Snider making it back to home for an unearned score. Had the error not occurred, it would have been Louisville’s first inside-the-park home run in 12 years.
After McKay opened with a grand-slam in the first inning, EKU rallied to cut the deficit to 4-3 with an RBI single from Jacob Abbott in the second, and then two more runs in the third with an RBI bunt and a wild pitch. Louisville then went on a 15-0 run from the fifth to the eighth inning, led by a two-run home run from Drew Ellis. Logan Taylor had another stellar night, batting 3-of-4 with two RBI.
Bryan Hoeing earned his first career start for Louisville, striking out seven but allowing three earned runs on four hits. Rabon Martin would earn the win with three no-hit shutout innings and striking out three.
Louisville Puts Away Omaha With 7-2 Win on Friday
They say that the road to Omaha runs through Louisville, but the University of Nebraska-Omaha came to Louisville this weekend.
Instead, Louisville showed some early promise as a favorite to return to Omaha for the College World Series.
The Cardinals weekend began with a 7-2 win over the Mavericks. Brendan McKay’s win gave him sole possession of fourth all-time in career wins, now behind former teammate Kyle Funkhouser (35), Justin Marks (29) and Justin Amlung (24). McKay’s day at the mound came with five innings of work, allowing two runs and hits each but striking out five in the process. The only runs for UNO came in the second inning off an error from third baseman Drew Ellis that allowed Cole Patterson to score, and an RBI groundout in the fifth inning from Grant Suponchick.
Logan Taylor continued his hot streak, batting 3-of-4 with two RBI with two stolen bases and runs. Devin Hairston added his first home run of the season in the fourth inning, pushing the lead to 4-1. Tyler Fitzgerald added two doubles in a 2-of-3 showing at the plate, while Devin Mann went 2-of-4 with two RBI and a triple to lead off the seventh.
Back-to-Back Shutouts Finish Weekend for Louisville
U of L would follow up Friday’s win with back-to-back shutout victories, posting 10-0 on Saturday and 6-0 on Sunday. This marked the first time the Cardinals had back-to-back shutouts since March 27-29, 2016, when they defeated Virginia (15-0) and Western Kentucky (17-0). Louisville will enter Wednesday’s game against Morehead State with 22 straight scoreless innings. It is also the third shutout for Louisville in the first seven games.
The Cardinals pitching was spectacular on both days, with Kade McClure allowing the only hit in Saturday’s game. McClure finished with six shutout innings, allowing the one hit while striking out nine. The performance marked the first time the Cardinals delivered a one-hitter since 2015, when Louisville did the same against #9 Florida State. McKay finished 2-of-2 with an RBI sac fly in the fourth, while Ellis (2-3, RBI) also drew an RBI sac fly in the inning.
As for Sunday, Michael McAvene earned his first career win with five scoreless innings, while striking out 11 batters. The 11 K’s marked the highest total since McKay posted 12 against NC State in 2015. Logan Taylor finished the weekend with 3-of-5 at the plate and three RBI, ending up one home run shy of the cycle. Taylor has excelled as the leadoff hitter this season, currently averaging .464 with nine runs and RBI scored. McKay had a solid outing with three hits, pushing his season average to .619 with three home runs and 11 RBI. Ryan Summers had quality production from the 9-hole, batting 2-of-3 with an RBI single in the fifth inning that scored Hairston.
The Cardinals will wrap-up their eight game stretch at home with a Wednesday showdown against Morehead State, and then a weekend series against Eastern Michigan.