After taking WKU in an easy 11-1 victory on Tuesday, the Cards traveled to Charlottesville to face #16 Virginia in their first tour against a ranked opponent in 2017. The Cards were able to pull out two of three this weekend, securing their 21st series victory in 24 tries against ACC foes since joining the conference.
Cards Survive Low-Scoring Friday Affair
Colby Fitch hit two home runs, including a crucial two-run blast in the ninth inning, to give the Cardinals a 5-2 win on Friday at Virginia.
The win marked the first time since February 18th that Louisville played, and beat, a ranked team, when the Cardinals pulled out a 10-7 victory over then #22 Maryland.
Fitch led all Cardinals with 2-of-3 batting at the plate, three RBI and two home runs. The two jacks for Fitch marked the first time since June 2016 that a U of L batter was able to hit two over the wall.
Fitch was able to break a scoreless tie in the third inning with a shot over right field. After both teams went back and forth into the eighth inning, Brendan McKay was able to break a 2-2 tie with another home run into right field, while Fitch padded the lead with another shot over the same area.
While Fitch and McKay were the only Cardinal batters to record multiple-hits during the game, Colin Lyman and Ryan Summers also recorded a hit in the game.
Adam Wolf recorded the win after only allowing one hit and run in the seventh inning, striking out . McKay finished his day at the mound with six hits allowed, two walks, and an earned run. The two strikeouts that McKay earned is a season-low for the junior. Lincoln Henzman earned his sixth save of the year by shutting out the Cavaliers in 1.1 innings of work, to close the game.
The Cavaliers managed to tie the game twice; UVA’s Jake McCarthy hit an RBI groundout to score Ernie Clement in the third, while Adam Haseley scored another RBI groundout in the sixth that brought in Nate Eikhoff to score. Noah Murdock had a stellar showing as UVA’s starter at the mound on Friday; Murdock pitched six innings while allowing two runs on four hits, and two walks.
Pavin Smith Grand Slam Fuels Virginia’s Explosive Offense
A Pavin Smith grand-slam in the fifth inning, followed by five runs in the sixth and eighth inning combined, led the Cavaliers to an 11-2 win over #2 Louisville on Saturday.
The loss was Kade McClure’s first in nearly two years. McClure had only recorded one loss in his entire collegiate career prior to Saturday’s defeat; the sophomore allowed a home-run in the second inning from Caleb Knight, and then left the bases loaded in the fifth inning before Rabon Martin allowed a grand-slam from Smith. The Cardinals’ pitching allowed a season-high 11 runs on Saturday on 12 hits, in addition to three errors during the game.
After the grand slam, the Cards would allow five more runs before the game would finish. Ernie Clement offered a sac fly to score Jake McCarthy, while a wild pitch allowed another run in the sixth inning. Back-to-back RBI doubles from Adam Haseley and Smith keyed a three-run eighth inning, while Cameron Simmons added an RBI single to close the Virginia scoring. Smith would finish 2-of-3 at the plate with five RBI and two runs, being responsible for seven of UVA’s 11 runs in the game.
Only Drew Ellis was able to get multiple hits for the Cardinals, batting 2-of-3 for the day. Devin Hairston hit a two-run homer in the third inning that tied the game at 2-2 early, while Josh Stowers, Colby Fitch and Tyler Fitzgerald recorded hits.
Louisville Finishes Series With 4-3 Win on Sunday
Hairston has had a habit of clutch at-bats this season, and he came through yet again for the Cardinals. The junior hit a tying home run in the eighth inning, while Logan Taylor scored the winning run on a fielding error as the Cards took the series with a 4-3 win over Virginia.
The win gives the Cards are 21-3 in ACC series since joining the conference. U of L is also 3-1 against ranked opponents this year, and have not lost back-to-back games with a 24-3 record.
U of L’s victory on Sunday was met with adversity, though. Nick Bennett allowed Virginia’s three runs in 3.1 innings of work during his first road start at U of L, but the bullpen pulled together to shutout UVA the rest of the game. Adam Wolf and Lincoln Henzman recorded another win and save, respectively; Wolf only allowed one single in the eighth to record the victory after Louisville’s go-ahead run in their half of the inning, while Henzman saved the Cardinals to close the eighth and ninth inning.
Drew Ellis and McKay led the Cardinals with the only multi-hit performances of the game; Ellis batted 2-of-3 while McKay hit two doubles during the game. Colin Lyman and Zeke Pinkham batted in two runs in the second inning, while Hairston hit a game-tying home run in the eighth and then Taylor scored the go-ahead on a throwing error in the same inning
Virginia scored their three runs on an RBI single from Adam Haseley in the first, and a pair of RBIs tallied by Cameron Simmons and Jake McCarthy in the fourth inning. Haseley pitched seven solid innings for the Cavaliers, only allowing five hits, two walks and two earned runs while striking out five. Ernie Clement and Charlie Cody tallied two hits in the game, with the latter also recording Virginia’s only double of the game.
Up Next: Louisville returns home for the rivalry game against Kentucky on Tuesday. Tickets are still available at gocards.com for the game, with first pitch set for 6 p.m.