Josh Stowers drove in four runs, while the Louisville bullpen used five pitchers to earn a 6-2 victory over #25 Vanderbilt.
The victory marked the third in the last four games in the Battle of the Barrel rivalry. U of L also improved their winning streak to 12 games, which is the second time this team has accomplished the feat this season. It also pushes Louisville’s record to 6-3 against ranked teams, with the Cardinals beginning a two-week stretch against RPI top 30 opponents to close the regular season.
While led by Josh Stowers and his four RBI — three of which came in a second inning home run with two outs on — it was defense and, once again, a deadly bullpen that captained Louisville to victory over the Commodores. Vanderbilt scored their only two runs in the third inning, with RBI groundouts from Conner Kaiser and Stephen Scott. The Louisville bullpen would not allow another run in the final six innings, using five different pitchers to shutout Vanderbilt. The defense also had spectacular plays, with a couple of nifty double plays and a highlight-reel catch by Colin Lyman to thwart scoring opportunities.
Colby Fitch punched in a two-out RBI single to score Devin Hairston, pushing the lead to 4-2 after three innings. Stowers would later add an RBI single to his total in the sixth inning, while Logan Taylor hit an RBI groundout before the inning ended. Despite having Brendan McKay and Drew Ellis going 0-for-8 combined, Stowers and Devin Hairston (2-4, double, run scored) led Louisville batters while also providing elite defense and bullpen pitching.
With the victory, the Louisville bullpen is now 21-0 and still has not blown a save opportunity in 2017. Rabon Martin, who was tabbed the Louisville starter for the game, advanced to 4-0 with the win, allowing Vanderbilt’s only two runs of the game on three hits with two strikeouts. Adam Elliott, Adam Wolf, Jake Sparger and Shay Smiddy all contributed to the bullpen’s six-inning stretch of shutout baseball, only allowing four hits.
Up Next: Louisville looks to clinch a third straight division title at Clemson this weekend.