Going into this past week, the No.1 Louisville Baseball Cardinals had set a school record for best start to the season, going 19-0. However, the Cards had yet to play a road game this season, and faced two equally solid teams in Cincinnati and North Carolina State on the road this past week. They finished the week 2-2 after dropping the game to Cincinnati as well as the series opener to NC State, but went on to and win the series 2-1, to put them at 21-2 on the season.
Louisville Drops First Game Of the Season in Lone Game Against Cincinnati
The Cards experienced their first loss of the season when they faced the Cincinnati Bearcats in their first true road game of the season, 6-3.
Starting pitcher freshman Michael McAvene just could not get it going, as he gave up 1 run in the 1st inning, and 4 runs in the 2nd inning. Skipper Dan McDonnell called on the bullpen earlier than usual, as reliever Shay Smiddy took over in the 4th after McAvene had loaded the bases. After giving up a run, Adam Wolf came in relief of Smiddy to get the Cards out of the jam in the 4th. He would continue until the 8th inning, where relievers Chandler Dale and Bryan Hoeing would finish the game.
On the offensive side, Louisville couldn’t get much done once they went down by 4 runs after the 2nd inning. In the top of the second, Drew Ellis walked, advanced to second base on a wild pitch, stole third base and then scored on an error to tie the game at 1-1. After this, the only person to drive in any runs was Colin Lyman with a RBI grounder in the 4th, and an RBI double in the 8th. Coincidentally, the runner who scored on both of Lyman’s RBIs was Brendan McKay.
The only Cards to get on base were Logan Taylor (2-5), Drew Ellis (2-2), Brendan McKay (1-4), and Colin Lyman (1-4), with Taylor and Ellis being the only ones to get on base more than once.
Louisville Loses First ACC Conference Game at NC State
Even with two way star Brendan McKay on the mound, it was not enough for the Cards as they dropped their second straight game as well as their first ACC conference game, 3-1.
NC State got off to a quick start with 2 runs given up by McKay in the first inning. This was the first time McKay had given up a run in the 1st inning, and only the second time any Louisville pitcher had given up a first inning run all season. Fortunately, after their quick start, the only time they would strike again would be in the 5th inning. After going 7 innings, reliever Rabon Martin would finish the game and pitch a perfect 8th inning.
The Cards got even less done with their bats than they did in their first loss against Cincinnati. The only run scored in the entire game was off an RBI double by Devin Hairston that plated Tyler Fitzgerald.
Devin Hairston (1-4), Drew Ellis (1-4) and Colin Lyman (1-3) all were able to get on base, while Josh Stowers (2-4) and Tyler Fitzgerald (2-3) were able to do so multiple times.
Cards Overcome Late Game Heroics To Win First ACC Road Game, 7-6
Despite blowing a 3 run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning, Louisville was able to come away with the win in extra innings as they earned their first conference road game of the season and evened up the series with NC State.
Starting pitcher Kade McClure did not have his sharpest game, as he gave up one run per inning in his first three innings of work. After getting himself in a jam in the 4th inning, Adam Wold came in for the relief to work Louisville out of the jam. Sam Bordner relieved him in the 7th inning while closer Lincoln Henzman came in shortly after him in the 8th inning. However, with a 3 run lead, Henzman gave up a 3 run home run in the bottom of the ninth to force the game to go into extra innings. While he did blow the save, the Cards’ bats in extra innings allowed him to come away with his first win (1-0) on the season.
Louisville had found their offense that had been lacking in their last two games, and were able to score 7 runs in the game, including a 4 run third inning. In that inning, Colby Fitch drove in 2 runs on an RBI single, and Devin Mann went long as he drove in 2 runs on his third home run of the season. In the seventh inning, Fitch continued his big game as he hit his 4th home run of the year. The Cards continued to put up runs in the 8th inning, as Colin Lyman was hit by a pitch, stole second, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Devin Hairston. After blowing a the lead, in the first extra inning, an RBI single by Devin Hairston broke the tie and NC State was unable to match the run in the bottom of the 10th.
The only 2 Cardinals in the starting lineup did not register a hit, as well as pinch hitter Colin Lyman. Drew Ellis (1-4), Josh Stowers (1-4), Devin Mann (1-4), Ryan Summers (1-3) and Tyler Fitzgerald (2-4) were able to make it on base, and Devin Hairston (3-5, 2 RBI) and Colby Fitch (2-4, 3 RBI) had impressive performances at the plate.
Cardinals Clinch Second Straight ACC Conference Series
For the first time in a few games, Louisville had both an impressive performance at both the plate and the mound, as they defeated NC State 8-1 to clinch their weekend series.
Starting pitcher Nick Bennett gave a solid performance, logging five scoreless innings with 4 strikeouts. In the 6th and 7th innings, Jake Sparger and Adam Elliot pitched an inning a piece, and Riley Thompson finished the remaining two innings. The pitching staff combined for 1 earned run as well as 7 strikeouts.
Louisville’s bats got the early jump as both Drew Ellis and Devin Mann homered in the second and third innings respectively. Also in the third inning, Brendan McKay and Drew Ellis both had RBI singles. In the next inning, Zeke Pinkham plated a run on a sacrifice fly and Colby Fitch drove in a run on an RBI double. The Cards would not score again until the 7th inning where Devin Mann drove in a run on an RBI single and he later came around to score on a throwing error.
It was a good day at the plate for the Cardinals, as the entire starting lineup was able to make it on base, and pinch hitter Jake Snider was the only batter to not register a hit. Logan Taylor (2-4), Josh Stowers (2-4), and Devin Mann (2-4) all had very good days at the plate, while Devin Hairston (3-5, 2 RBI, 1 HR) had a fantastic day at the plate.