Xavier Outlasts #8 Louisville in 5-4 Extra Inning Battle

Louisville and Xavier have had hotly contested games in recent years, dating back to their Louisville Regional final game in 2017.

You can add this to the list in this seemingly annual non-conference series. A passed ball in the tenth inning allowed Chris Givin to score the game-winning run for Xavier, as the Musketeers (2-5) upset the #8 Cardinals 5-4 in a ten-inning battle.

Xavier, who averaged .307 at the plate entering today’s game, got started early with an RBI single from Conor Grammes. Ryan Altenberger then got an RBI on his flyball to center field, putting the Musketeers ahead 2-0 in the top of the first inning.

Louisville got their own hot start from Tyler Fitzgerald, who delivered an RBI sac fly to score Lucas Dunn. Danny Oriente had an RBI single after that, knotting up the score at 2-2 after the first inning.

After a couple shutout innings for both teams, Xavier retook the lead with Jack Housinger’s single in the fourth inning, bringing Natale Monastra in to score.

Louisville couldn’t tie it up in their half of the fourth inning like they did in the first. But Jake Snider was able to in the fifth inning with an RBI double down the left field line, tying the game at 3-3 entering the sixth inning.

After another couple scoreless innings, Xavier and Louisville traded runs in the eighth. A wild pitch from Michael Kirian allowed Grammes to score the go-ahead run in Xavier’s portion of the inning. Louisville would get another tying run scored in the bottom half via RBI double, this time from Henry Davis.

Both teams went 1-2-3 in the ninth inning, pushing it to extra innings. Bobby Miller came into the game after Jared Poland allowed two runners on base. Miller managed to strike out Conor Grammes, but it was a passed ball and that allowed Givin to score the game-winning run.

Louisville had a chance in the bottom tenth with the tying run at third, and the winning run at second. But Henry Davis flied out, and Justin Lavey struck out as he was not able to recreate the walk-off he had in Friday’s 5-4 win over Brown.

After a terrific start last week against Eastern Kentucky, Luke Smith returned as the midweek starter and had some moderate success. Smith managed to get five innings of work, allowing three earned runs on six hits and striking out four batters.

Louisville used four relievers with Smith, and delivered a season-high 15 strikeouts as a team. Shay Smiddy led all relievers with 2.1 innings pitched, striking out five and allowing one earned run with two walks and one hit.

Lucas Dunn (2-for-5) led the way for the Cards as their leadoff hitter once again. Jake Snider was the only other Louisville batter with a multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a double. Ethan Stringer (1-for-5) and Henry Davis (1-for-2) also had doubles. Logan Wyatt went 0-for-2, but also had three walks during the game, bringing his total to 13 on the year.

Xavier’s second win of the season was keyed by a surprisingly strong performance from the mound. Their pitching staff as a season had a 9.24 ERA entering today’s game, but got steady performances from two pitchers. Matt Kent pitched 4.1 innings as the starter, allowing three earned runs on five hits.

Lane Flemm, though, came up aces for Xavier out of the bullpen. He delivered a stellar performance with 5.2 innings pitched, only allowing one earned run and striking out four Louisville batters. His performance was key for Xavier’s batting lineup to claw their way into a narrow win.

Conor Grammes and Jake Shepski both went 2-for-5, the only Xavier batters with a multi-hit game. Chris Givin was 1-for-4 at the top of the order, scoring two runs including the game-winner. Matt Warkentin (1-for-3), Allbry Major (1-for-4), and Jack Housinger (1-for-4) also recorded hits for Xavier.

Up Next: Louisville continues their homestand against James Madison on Friday, 4:00 ET. The Cards and Dukes will have their weekend series continue after that with a 2:00 ET game on Saturday, and Sunday at 1:00 ET.

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