The Louisville baseball Cardinals continue their hot streak to open the 2017 season by going 4-0 the past week against the Fort Wayne Mastodons and the Pittsburgh Panthers. The scheduled Tuesday game at Eastern Kentucky had to be postponed due to inclement weather. Their record on the season now stands at 15-0, and are currently the only remaining undefeated team in Division I baseball
Louisville Rallies Against Ft. Wayne 12-2, Moves To 12-0
Louisville began the week by overcoming a 2-0 deficit in the 4th inning to a resounding 12-2 victory against Fort Wayne.
After giving up two runs in the 4th inning, starter Bryan Hoeing was yanked and skipper Dan McDonnell called on the bullpen to finish the game. From that point on, pitchers Sam Bordner, Adam Elliot, Shay Smiddy and Chandler Dale combined for five shutout innings, with Bordner eventually coming away with the W to move to 1-0 on the season.
In the bottom of the 4th after Hoeing was pulled, the Cards went on to score 5 runs in the inning including a home run by Devin Mann. Later on in the 7th inning, Louisville also scored 4 runs, including a bases loaded triple by Devin Hairston. Hairston had a game high 3 hits, and had a career-best 5 RBIs.
Louisville Begins ACC Play With Solid Win Over Pitt
The Cards notched their first conference victory of the 2017 season behind a dominant pitching performance from two way star Brendan McKay, as Louisville went on to win 3-0.
In seven innings of work, McKay struck out a career high 15 batters while giving up just 2 hits and a walk. Once McKay’s pitch count reached the upper 90’s, relief pitcher Lincoln Henzman entered the 8th inning for the Cards to pick up the save. Although McKay’s humbling 0-3 performance at the plate dropped his batting average to .559 on the season, his dominant pitching performance improved his ERA to 0.50 and he moved to 3-0 on the season. This was the first game on the season where McKay did not reach base safely
After Pitt’s starting pitcher Josh Mitchell gave up a sac fly by McKay in the 1st, an RBI single by Drew Ellis in the 1st and an RBI single by Colin Lyman in the 3rd, as well having to be tended to in the 2nd inning after awkwardly catching a popped up bunt, Pitt went to the bullpen in the 5th inning. Relief pitchers Chris Gomez, RJ Freure and TJ Pagan kept the Cardinals in check for the remainder of the game.
The only Cardinals who did not record a hit in this game were Logan Taylor (0-4) , Brendan McKay (0-3) and Jake Snider (0-1) who pinch hit for Josh Stowers in the 8th inning. Drew Ellis (2-3) and Colin Lyman (2-4) were the only Cardinals who recorded multiple hits in the game.
McClure’s Strong Outing Helps Clinch Opening ACC Series
Following Brendan McKay’s fantastic performance on the mound in Friday’s game, Kade McClure picked up where he left off in Saturday’s game, where Louisville defeated Pitt 8-2.
McClure tossed six shutout innings, giving up only 4 hits and 2 walks while throwing 6 strikeouts. In the seventh inning, relief pitcher Adam Wolf replaced McClure and pitched for 1.1 innings until he was replaced by closer Shane Hummel in the ninth inning. This pitching crew almost tossed a shutout, but a sacrifice fly and an RBI single given up by Wolf in the ninth inning but Pitt on the board. McClure moved to 2-0 on the season with a 2.08 ERA.
Louisville’s bats got off to a strong start to the game, as they scored 5 of their 8 runs in the first 3 innings. Devin Mann drove in an RBI single in the 1st, and Logan Taylor & Devin Hairston both worked some two out magic with a 2 RBI doubles in the 2nd and 3rd innings respectively. Hairston’s double in the 3rd was almost turned into a home run, but the ball bounced off the top of the wall and back into the field of play. The Cards would not score again until the 6th inning when Josh Stowers drew a walk, advanced on a wild pitch, and was brought around to score on a 0-out, grounded out double play. Also in the 8th inning, Colby Fitch provided some late game fireworks with a 2 run home run.
Logan Taylor and Colby Fitch had solid games, with both finishing the game going 2-4 with 2 RBIs, and five different Cardinals finished the game with multiple hits.
Louisville Finishes The Sweep, Defeats Pitt 3-1
The Cardinals wrapped up their opening ACC series by sweeping the Pittsburgh Panthers 3 games to 0, and moved to 15-0 on the season in what was for the most part a pitcher’s duel.
Starting pitcher Nick Bennett produced six strong innings with 4 strikeouts while only giving up 2 hits, 1 walk and no runs. Reliever Sam Bordner took over in the seventh and eight innings and produced no hits, walks, or runs and 3 strikeouts. Closer Riley Thompson provided some late game drama by giving up a walk, hit and a run with two outs left in the game. Closer Lincoln Henzman came in the game with the Cards up 3-1 and runners on the corners, where he was able to produce the final out of the game. Nick Bennett moved to 2-0 on the season with an 0.56 ERA, and Lincoln Henzman recorded his 3rd save of the season.
On the flip side, Pitt pitcher Josh Falk kept the Cards relatively in check until the 4th inning. Devin Mann was able to score after Falk walked him, and Mann advanced after a Brendan McKay single, a Drew Ellis bunt single, a Lyman walk and a Hairston fielder’s choice grounder to second base. In the 6th inning, Falk loaded the bases and was pulled from the game and replaced by reliever RJ Freure, where he proceeded to give up a 2 RBI single by Josh Stowers. Freure stayed in the game and did not allow the Cards to score again.
Logan Taylor (1-4), Brendan McKay (2-3), Drew Ellis (1-3) and Josh Stowers (1-3) were the only Cardinals to record a hit in the game. McKay was the lone Cardinal player with multiple hits, and Hairston & Stowers drove in the 3 runs for the game. On the season, McKay now has a .548 batting average with 4 HR & 16 RBIs, as well as a 3-0 record on the mound with a 0.50 ERA and 29 strikeouts.