Last year, Louisville sealed its birth to the NCAA Super Regional with an 8-7 win over Xavier. Though not as high-stakes as that meeting last June, both teams found themselves in a tight contest once again.
A go-ahead two-run homer from Justin Lavey in the seventh inning was the difference for #10 Louisville (8-0), as the Cardinals pulled out a 6-4 win over Xavier (3-5).
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It was a quality offensive showing for both teams, as Xavier and Louisville each had 10+ hits. However, both teams also left 10+ runners on base, limiting the potential for an offensive shootout.
Five Louisville batters recorded a multi-hit game on the day. Justin Lavey (2-for-3, two runs, HR) and Josh Stowers (1-for-4) each drove in two RBI, with Lavey providing the go-ahead runs on his home run. Pat Rumoro (2-for-3, two runs, one walk), Drew Campbell (2-for-3, one stolen base) and Tyler Fitzgerald (2-for-4, one stolen base) also led the way for Louisville’s offense.
For Xavier, Chris Givin, Conor Grammes and Natale Monastra each had two hits on the day. Joe Gellenbeck also batted 1-for-4 with an RBI single in the third, and Matt Warkentin hit 1-of-3 with his solo home run in the fourth inning.
Louisville started strong in the second with a solo home run from Ethan Stringer, but it would quickly become a back-and-forth game like last year’s Regional final. Gellenbeck tied the game with an RBI single in the third inning. Warkentin gave the Musketeers the lead in the fourth with a solo home run, but Josh Stowers tied it again for Louisville with an RBI single in the bottom fourth inning.
The Musketeers added two runs in the fifth, after starting pitcher Bryan Hoeing exited the game. A wild pitch from reliever Adam Elliott and RBI single from Xavier’s Blaine Griffiths gave them a 4-2 lead after five innings. After that, Louisville would use four more relievers to stifle Xavier’s offense, highlighted by Rabon Martin’s perfect sixth inning. It would stall the Musketeers long enough for Lavey’s home run to be the deciding factor for Louisville.
Bryan Hoeing got another weekday start, pitching 4.1 innings and allowed four earned runs on seven hits, striking out six in the process. Hoeing also started in last Tuesday’s home opener against Eastern Kentucky, and looks to be Louisville’s top option as their weekday starter.
Bobby Miller was credited with his second win of the season, pitching 1.2 shutout innings and only allowing one hit. Sam Bordner earned his third save of the season, retiring all four batters he faced to close the game. Pitching 1.2 shutout innings and striking out two of four batters he faced, Bordner has not allowed a run in 25 of his last 26 appearances.
Up next, Louisville continues their homestand with a weekend series against Western Carolina. Friday’s series opener starts at 3 p.m. ET, with Saturday and Sunday’s game both slated to start at 1 p.m. Tickets are available at GoCards.com, starting at $5.