U of L’s pitchers bounced back from an awful showing last week to strike out 23 Indiana batters, the most for the program since at least 2000, and Tyler Fitzgerald’s sliding run in the 12th inning gave #8 Louisville (41-12) an 8-7 win over #17 Indiana (33-19).
The win improves Louisville’s record to 13-6 against ranked competition in 2019, and adds another big non-conference win to their resume right before the end of the regular season.
The first inning went relatively quiet for both teams. Louisville would get on the board in the second inning, getting RBIs from Henry Davis and Justin Lavey to take a 2-0 lead.
In the third inning, Alex Binelas delivered a huge three-run homer that increased Louisville’s lead to 5-0. The shot to right field was the 11th home run of the season for Binelas.
Logan Wyatt drew a bases-loaded walk to bump Louisville’s lead up to 6-0 in the top of the fourth inning. Alex Binelas had a chance to add on more runs in the inning after Wyatt’s walk, but a groundout closed the inning and thwarted Louisville’s chance to add on more runs.
Indiana would take advantage of that with five runs in the bottom of the fourth. Matt Lloyd and Elijah Dunham plated a run on RBI doubles in back-to-back at-bats. A wild pitch and two bases-loaded walks added three more runs for the Hoosiers, cutting the lead to just 6-5. Much like Louisville, the Hoosiers had a chance to add more runs after the bases-loaded walk, but reliever Bryan Hoeing threw a clutch strikeout to Lloyd to close the inning and stop the run by IU.
U of L got another run in the seventh inning, coming on an RBI single from Danny Oriente. Indiana tied it up in their half of the inning, scoring first on an RBI single from Cole Barr. Sam Crail fouled out, but that allowed Dunham to score the tying run for the Hoosiers.
Both teams went into extra innings, not being able to score a run from the seventh to the 11th inning. Louisville broke the tie in the 12th after Tyler Fitzgerald dove home and beat the tag to score the go-ahead run. U of L had the bases loaded once again after Zach Britton was intentionally walked, but Zeke Pinkham grounded out into a double play to close the top of the 12th.
Indiana threatened to walk it off in the bottom of the 12th, as Matt Lloyd walked and got the winning run at the plate. But Luke Smith struck out the final three batters to close out the game, and give Louisville the victory.
U of L’s pitchers combined to tally 23 strikeouts in the game, the most for the program since at least 2000. Luke Smith earned the win with two shutout innings in the 11th and 12th, striking out four of the eight batters he faced. Michael McAvene had another solid performance out of the bullpen, striking out five of the six batters he faced in the ninth and tenth innings. Starting pitcher Jack Perkins (3.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 K’s) and reliever Bryan Hoeing (2.2 IP, 4 K’s) also had at least four strikeouts for the Cardinals. Garrett Schmeltz had a shutout eighth inning that setup McAvene and Smith to effectively close the game out for Louisville on the mound.
Alex Binelas led the Cardinals with four RBIs on 2-of-6 hitting. Three of those RBIs came on his home run in the third inning, and the fourth was the game-winner on a fielder’s choice in the 12th that scored Tyler Fitzgerald. Danny Oriente was 3-of-4 at the plate with an RBI. Logan Wyatt finished 1-of-4 with an RBI and two walks, bumping his total up to 59 walks on the season.
Matt Lloyd, Elijah Dunham, Cade Bunnell and Cole Barr each went 1-of-4 with an RBI. Lloyd and Dunham also recorded doubles in the contest for Indiana. Matt Gorski and
Wyatt Cross both finished 1-of-4 with an RBI. Matt Lloyd also earned the loss at the mound, allowing two walks and one run in the 12th and final inning.
Louisville returns home on Thursday for their final weekend series of the regular season, taking on Florida State. U of L will be looking to secure the ACC regular-season title and the #1 overall seed with a series win over the Seminoles. The series will start on Thursday at 6 p.m. EDT, with games on Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m.