In a longer than usual week, the Louisville Cardinals handled it with ease as they went 5-0 against the Northern Kentucky Norse & Toledo Rockets as well as the Eastern Kentucky Colonels in a rain-delay makeup game. The perfect week put them at 38-6 on the season, and their conference record of 17-4 remained the same as they had the week off from conference play.
Brendan McKay Hammers Four Home Runs In Slugfest At EKU
Two-way superstar Brendan McKay continues to build his Golden Spikes resume, as he was able to connect on four home runs on the road against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels and the Cards defeated EKU, 14-4.
Although typically a relief pitcher by trade, freshman right-hander Shay Smiddy took the mound against the Colonels, and put up a somewhat solid performance. In five total innings pitched, he managed to only give up 3 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks, on top of striking out 3 batters. Reliever Adam Elliot came into the game in the sixth inning and had a strong outing out of the bullpen. In 3 innings of work, he struck out 6 batters while only giving up 1 run on 2 hits. Chandler Dale closed out the game in the ninth inning where he recorded a strikeout.
Calling this game a slugfest would an absolute understatement, as the Cardinals were able to record six home runs in the game, including four by Brendan McKay. In fact, there were only 2 scoring plays in the entire game that did not involve a home run (RBI singles by both Logan Taylor and Devin Hairston in the second inning). Brendan McKay homered in the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 9th innings, while Devin Mann and Drew Ellis homered in the 8th and 9th innings respectively. While also driving in 4 home runs, McKay also drove in a whopping 9 RBIs.
Shay Smiddy came away with the win for the Cardinals, and moved to 1-0 on the season. Colin Lyman and Colby Fitch were the only Cardinals to not record a hit in the game, while Devin Hairston (2-4), Brendan McKay (4-5), Drew Ellis (3-5) and Devin Mann (2-4) all had multi-hit games.
Drew Ellis’ 2 Home Runs Sink EKU At Louisville Slugger Field
Following up the performance that Brendan McKay had put on just the day before, Drew Ellis decided to get in on the action as well. Both him and Zeke Pinkham went 2-4 on the day with 3 RBI, with Pinkham homering once and Ellis homering twice at Louisville Slugger Field in downtown Louisville.
Sophomore Bryan Hoeing got the start for the Cards, but that’s about all that went well for the right-handed pitcher. In 1.2 innings of work, he would give up 2 walks and 2 runs on 4 hits. After working himself into a jam in the second inning where he loaded the bases, skipper Dan McDonnell gave him the hook and put Jake Sparger into the game. He had a better outing than Hoeing, but that wasn’t saying much. After giving up 2 runs on 3 hits and only a pair of strikeouts in 2.0 innings of work, he would also get the hook and reliever Adam Wolf would enter the game. Wolf finally got some decent pitching going for the Cards, as he proceeded to toss 2.1 scoreless innings and struck out 3 batters. Wolf’s work would be done after that, and Sam Bordner would get the call in the beginning of the seventh. He would then pitch a scoreless seventh and eighth inning, setting up the save situation for fireballing closer Lincoln Henzman, where he earned his 13th save of the season.
Louisville’s offense couldn’t get much going to start the game, but it was the fourth inning when the bombs started flying and things got interesting. Drew Ellis smacked his 11th homer of the year to cut the deficit to 4-1, and after Devin Mann walked with 2 outs, Zeke Pinkham drove in his first career home run that barely squeaked by the foul pole to make it 4-3. When Justin Lavey reached base after a throwing error that sailed into the dugout to put him at second base, NKU head coach stormed out of the dugout to argue that the ball had not actually gone into the dugout. He was subsequently tossed from the game after he made contact with the umpire during his tirade. When the antics were over, the Cards got back to work in the fifth inning, when Josh Stowers proceeded to hit a leadoff double. Drew Ellis then did what he does best, and hit another home run, this time to take a 5-4 lead. His 12th home run of the season was an estimated 394 feet, and actually left the stadium. The Cards would not score anymore runs until the eight inning, when Zeke Pinkham would continue his solid day at the plate. After Colin Lyman singled, stole second and advanced to third on a groundout, an RBI single by Pinkham would send him home to permanently extend the lead to 6-4.
Adam Wolf came away with the win for Louisville and moved to 6-0 on the season. Logan Taylor, Devin Mann and Colby Fitch were the only starters to not record a hit, while Drew Ellis (2-4) and Zeke Pinkham (2-4) were the only batters to record multiple hits.
Josh Stowers’ Career Day Powers UofL Past Toledo In Series Opener
In a game that had to be accelerated due to the threat of potential rain (2 hours, 10 minutes), outfielder Josh Stowers had the best game of his collegiate career, as he knocked in his first two career home runs and set a career mark for RBIs.
Superstar pitcher Brendan McKay got the start for the Cards, and although he did put up some very good numbers (12 strikeouts), there were a couple of times where he did a look a bit shaky. Through the first six innings of the game, the second inning when he gave up a solo home run was the only time where he did not look like he was in typical Brendan McKay form. Then in the seventh inning, he started to lose a tad bit of his command. A leadoff single, a walk and then a home run would give the Rockets a 3-run lead. Fortunately for him, he got back to his old self in the eighth with a 1-2-3 inning, and when Sam Bordner would take over pitching duties in the ninth, it would be the Cards who had the lead. This would allow Bordner to collect his second save of the season.
In a game that saw Louisville face a deficit a couple of times, Josh Stowers put the team on his back and carried them from the jaws of defeat. Facing a 1-0 deficit in the fifth inning, Stowers came up to the plate and smashed the first home run of his career. Then in the seventh inning while facing another deficit, this time 4-1, Stowers did it again. After Drew Ellis singled up the left side and Devin Mann walked, Stowers came in the clutch and hit his second home run of the game to tie the game. This blast would also set a new career RBI mark for him with 4 on the game. With the game winding down in the eighth inning and the rain knocking on Jim Patterson Stadium’s doorstep, the Cards had to do something to avoid the potential rainout. After Devin Hairston drew a walk and a McKay single advanced him all the way to third, the sacrifice fly from Drew Ellis was hit just hard enough to allow Hairston get the go ahead run.
Brendan McKay earned his sixth win of the season to move to 6-3. Colby Fitch. Devin Mann and Tyler Fitzgerald were the only starters to go hitless for the game, while Drew Ellis (2-3) and Josh Stowers (2-3) all had multiple hits.
McClure’s Arm & Taylor’s Hammer Dominate Toledo
A 3-5, 3 RBI game from Logan Taylor and a 7 inning/1 run outing from Kade McClure were enough to clinch the home series against Toledo.
Kade McClure pitched his sixth game of the season, and the junior right-hander was just as good as he has been all season. In seven innings of work, he only gave up 1 run, 6 hits and no walks while striking out 6 batters. After his day was done, Rabon Martin would pitch a perfect eighth inning, and Shane Hummel would pitch a perfect ninth.
Unlike the series opener, Louisville got their run scoring started early in series clincher. In the second inning after a Brendan McKay walk, a Drew Ellis bunt single and Devin Mann HBP to load the bases, Colin Lyman was then hit by a pitch himself to plate Brendan McKay. With the bases still loaded, Tyler Fitzgerald drove in 2 runs on single to right field in the very next at-bat to increase the lead to 3-0. Louisville continued their slugging prowess in the fourth inning when Drew Ellis crushed his 4th home run this week and his 14th home run this season. Later in the inning, Logan Taylor sent Colin Lyman and Josh Stowers home off a double, and increased the lead to 6-0. In the sixth inning, the Cards recorded their third three-run inning of the game. After Tyler Fitzgerald was HBP and Logan Taylor singled to get on base, a balk by Toledo would send Fitz home, and the Taylor would steal third and score off a throwing error. Hairston would then get in on the run-scoring action, after him and Brendan McKay got back to back singles and then Drew Ellis hit a sacrifice fly to send him home. A sac fly in the 7th by Hairston would send Justin Lavey home, and a bases loaded walk by Logan Taylor in the 8th would send Devin Mann home.
The victory by Kade McClure would move him to 5-1 on the season. Colin Lyman would be the only starter not to join the hit parade, and Logan Taylor (3-5), Devin Hairston (2-4) and Drew Ellis (2-3) would all have multi-hit games.
Cards Curb Stomp Toledo For Series Sweep
Louisville put a bow tie on the series with Toledo, and showed them absolutely no mercy. The Cards put up 17 runs on 13 hits, and won their 6th series sweep of the season.
Freshman lefty Nick Bennett started on the mound for the Cards, and after a solid start to the game, he started to get a bit rattled in the middle innings. In the first three innings, he not only kept the Rockets off the board also didn’t allow a hit and struck out 4. The no-hit bid would end in the fourth when he would give up a pair of hits and a walk to allow Toledo to bring home their first run of the game. The fifth inning wouldn’t be any more kind to Bennett, as he proceeded to give up back-to-back-to-back singles and then a walk to allow Toledo to bring home a runner and leave the bases loaded with no outs. This would be the end of his day, and senior right-handed reliever Jake Sparger would assume pitching duties. Thankfully, great defense allowed Zeke Pinkham to trap a runner going home, and Devin Hairston helped turn two on the next play to allow Sparger to work out of the inning without surrendering a run. Chandler Dale would take over in the seventh inning, Adam Wolf would pitch in the eighth inning, and Lincoln Henzman would close the game in a non-save situation.
In a game where Toledo struggled with their pitching command and hit 6 batters, Louisville continued their batting prowess from the game before, and put the first runs on the board in the game. Drew Ellis, who had been on absolute fire over the last week and a half, lead off the inning with a triple down the left field line. After Devin Mann used his good plate discipline to draw a walk with Ellis on third, Colin Lyman drove them both home with a deep double down the left field alley. A long sacrifice fly from Zeke Pinkham would then send Lyman home to increase their lead to 3-0 by the end of the second inning. Two-Way superstar and Golden Spikes front-runner Brendan McKay continued his baseball smashing ways, when he crushed his 12th home run of the season to lead off the third inning. Devin Mann put himself in scoring position with a double, and Colin Lyman sent him home off a single through the left side to increase the lead to 5-0 at the end of the third. In the very next inning, the fireworks would continue to fly. Subpar pitching from Toledo would walk Colby Fitch and cause Hairston to be hit by a pitch. After a long fly ball advanced both runners into scoring position, the Rockets decided to intentionally walk Drew Ellis to load the bases. The IBB would prove costly, with Devin Mann clearing the bases off a double in the very next bat to further push the lead to 8-1 at the end of the fourth.
Louisville continued to take advantage of the lack of a mercy rule in college baseball in the fifth inning, when they recorded their fourth straight multi-run inning. Logan Taylor and Colby Fitch would get on base and then execute the double steal to perfection to get into scoring position. A throwing error into the dugout off a Devin Hairston grounder would send Taylor and Fitch home, and then McKay’s 13th home run of the season would send himself and Hairston home to extend the lead to 12-2. The comedy of errors continued for Toledo, when the shortstop bobbled a common grounder with the bases loaded, and allowed Devin Mann and Drew Ellis to come home. The 6 run inning would make it a 12 run lead by the end of the fifth inning. The sixth inning was slightly different change of pace for Louisville, as they mainly relied on their plate discliple to score their runs. Back-to-back-to-back walks by Colby Fitch, Drew Ellis and Devin Mann would load the bases, and a Colin Lyman single would send Fitch and Ellis home for Louisville’s fifth straight multi-run inning.
Although the majority of the starters were pulled in the seventh inning, that didn’t stop the reserves from breaking in on the action. Michael Bollmer hit a ball that was 5 feet from clearing the park in the eighth inning for the second triple of the game, and a Jake Snider single would put the reserves on the board, 17-1.
For as many runs as Louisville put up, Colby Fitch (0-1), Devin Hairston (0-4), Josh Stowers (0-3) and Zeke Pinkham (0-3) were all somehow starters that were excluded from the barrage of hits. Brendan McKay (2-5), Drew Ellis (2-3), Devin Mann (2-3) and Colin Lyman (3-3) had 9 of UofL’s 13 hits in the game. As reward for working the Cards out of the middle innings jam, Jake Sparger would earn the win and move to 4-0 on the season.