In a pinch-hitting role, freshman Zach Britton came off the bench and came up big for #25 Louisville. His walkoff hit to left field in the bottom ninth gave the Cardinals (38-16) a 5-4 win over Notre Dame (24-26) to start their weekend series against the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame jumped ahead in the first inning. An error while trying to put out Matt Vierling resulted in a run scoring for the Fighting Irish, giving them an early 1-0 lead in the inning.
Louisville countered with an RBI single from Pat Rumoro in the second inning. Logan Wyatt drilled his fourth home run of 2018 in the third inning, sending a ball out to left field that gave Louisville a 3-1 lead. Wyatt also had an RBI single in the fifth inning that extended Louisville’s lead to 4-1.
After starter Adam Wolf retired from the game in the seventh inning, Notre Dame got some runs on Louisville’s relievers. Matt Vierling drilled a triple down the right field line off of Michael Kirian in the eighth inning, bringing in two runs for the Irish and cutting Louisville’s lead to 4-3. Vierling would later score the tying run in the inning on a wild pitch from Austin Conway, knotting it up at 4-4 into the bottom eighth.
While Conway rebounded to hold the Fighting Irish scoreless in the top of the ninth, Louisville parlayed that momentum by loading the bases in the bottom of the inning. Devin Mann got on base with a single, then Logan Wyatt and Josh Stowers were walked to load the bases. That set up Britton to drive in the winning run and give Louisville the victory.
Josh Stowers led all Louisville batters with a 3-for-3 performance at the plate, also adding two stolen bases to his total. Of the eight batters that recorded a hit in Louisville’s lineup, five (Stowers, Jake Snider, Devin Mann, Logan Wyatt and Pat Rumoro) had a multi-hit performance. Logan Wyatt went 2-for-4 at the plate and drove in three of Louisville’s five runs; two came on his home run in the third inning, and one by way of a fifth-inning RBI single. Jake Snider (double) and Devin Mann (triple) also had extra-base hits on the day. Snider and Rumoro both went 2-for-4, while Snider was 2-for-5.
Adam Wolf struggled early in the first inning, allowing three walks and a run on 37 pitches. But the junior recovered to hold the Fighting Irish scoreless after the first inning, throwing seven innings and struck out eight batters, only allowing only one run on two hits. Austin Conway (3-1) earned the win out of the bullpen, striking out three of four batters in 1.1 innings.
For Notre Dame, veteran Matt Vierling led the Irish with 1-for-4 at the plate, and two RBIs. Vierling’s at-bat in the first also scored a run and gave the Irish the early 1-0 lead. Cole Daily (1-for-3), Nick Podkul (1-for-3), Alex Kerschner (1-for-3), and Bryce Gray (1-for-2) also had hits for Notre Dame.
The Cards and Irish continue their series tomorrow at 6 p.m., with the regular season finale at 1 p.m. on Saturday.