Recap: Cards back on track with series sweep against Valpo

After a 1-3 start to the season with losses to Ole Miss and Wright State, Louisville baseball got back on track this weekend against Valparaiso.

The Cardinals recorded 45 strikeouts for the weekend, tying the single-series record that Louisville set against Alabama A&M last year (disclaimer: Louisville’s records date back to 1999).

Game 1: Cards smash Jim Patterson Stadium strikeouts record

In Friday’s 3-0 victory, the Cardinals (2-3) were able to set a new single-game Jim Patterson Stadium record with 22 strikeouts at the expense of the Crusaders (1-3).

Louisville’s only runs in the win were in the second and sixth innings. Justin Lavey offered a sac fly in the second inning that allowed Henry Davis to reach home safely, putting the Cardinals ahead 1-0. The sixth inning saw Ben Bianco drive a shallow two-run homer into left field, tripling Louisville’s lead to 3-0.

The win on Friday was defined by a historically dominant performance from the mound by the Cardinals. Reid Detmers advanced his record to 2-0 by throwing six shutout innings, striking out 14 batters while allowing just three hits and no walks. Glenn Albanese and Michael Kirian combined to allow just one hit and threw eight strikeouts in the final three innings from the bullpen, with Kirian recording his second save of the season.

Henry Davis and Levi Usher were the only Louisville batters to have a multi-hit outing, both going 2-for-4 in Friday’s win.

Game 2: Louisville takes series with 6-1 victory

Louisville (3-3) got themselves into .500 territory on Saturday, taking a 6-1 victory over Valparaiso (1-4) to clinch their first weekend series of the season.

Valparaiso jumped to an early 1-0 lead after Kevin Barry placed an RBI single into centerfield, but Louisville’s three runs in the fifth and eighth innings would be enough for them.

Louisville took the lead in the fifth inning with RBI base hits from Tim Borden II and Ben Metzinger. Borden tied it with an RBI double, then Metzinger followed with a two-RBI single.

The eighth inning saw the Cardinals add three more runs to pad their lead. Both Trey Leonard and Ben Bianco scored the first two runs on errors that allowed both runners to eventually reach home. Tim Borden II had another RBI base hit with a single into left field, putting Louisville ahead 6-1 in the bottom of the eighth.

Much like Friday, Louisville’s pitching had another dominant performance. Bobby Miller allowed just one run in six innings pitched, striking out 12 batters with two walks and an earned run allowed. Adam Elliott, Ryan Hawks, Kellan Tulio, and Michael Kirian all combined to punch out six batters in the final three innings, as Kirian recorded his third save of the season.

Luke Brown and Tim Borden II had multi-hit games on Saturday, going 2-for-5 and 2-for-4 respectively. Ben Metzinger led the team with two RBIs in his 1-for-2 outing, with Justin Lavey recording a triple on his 1-for-4 day.

Game 3: Cards complete sweep with 14-10 win over Valparaiso

In a stark contrast to the previous two games, Louisville (4-3) finished their weekend sweep with a 14-10 win over Valparaiso (1-5).

Sunday’s finale was a game that featured 24 combined runs on 32 combined hits between both schools. Valparaiso jumped to a 2-0 lead after the second inning, first coming on a throwing error that allowed Nolan Tucker to score. Tucker would add another run to Valparaiso’s lead with a solo homer in the second inning.

Louisville tied it in the bottom half of the second inning with runs coming on Justin Lavey’s fielder’s choice, and Jared Poland RBI’s single.

Valparaiso and Louisville each had a run in the third inning, with Troy Jones (RBI double) and Danny Oriente (sac fly) driving in a run for their teams, respectively.

Tied at 3-3 entering the second trimester of the game, Louisville exploded for nine runs from the fourth to the sixth innings. The Cardinals jumped ahead 4-3 in the fourth with an RBI double from Jared Poland, then added two more runs on RBI singles from Danny Oriente and Henry Davis in the fifth.

Valparaiso’s two runs in the fifth inning came on Nolan Tucker’s RBI single, but a six-spot by Louisville in the sixth would blow the game open. Luke Brown and Danny Oriente each drove in one run with an RBI double and fielder’s choice, respectively. Levi Usher and Justin Lavey then followed it up with back-to-back RBI doubles of their own with two outs, putting the Cardinals into double-digit territory.

Louisville would later add two more runs in the bottom of the seventh, as Dalton Rushing broke out of an 0-4 day to bring in a two-RBI double and extend the lead to 14-5.

Valparaiso did get five runs across the eighth and ninth innings to cut Louisville’s final score to 14-10. Kyle Schmack and Jonathan Temple each had RBI base hits in the eighth, and Kevin Barry and Nolan Tucker added runs in the ninth with a double and sac fly, respectively. Louisville’s Jared Poland came in during the ninth inning to put the game away.

Louisville went over ten runs for the first time this season, tallying 14 runs on 16 hits. Ben Metzinger, who made his first start at third base this season, capitalized from the two-hole with a 3-for-4 outing. Jared Poland finished 3-for-5 with two doubles, two RBIs, and closed the game on the mound with 0.2 innings pitched and one strikeout. Danny Oriente and Levi Usher both finished 2-for-3, with Oriente driving in three RBIs to Usher’s two. Justin Lavey’s lone hit went for a double, and added three RBIs to his stat line.

Valparaiso, who entered Sunday batting 9-for-63 (.143) during the weekend, went 16-for-41 (.390) in the series finale. Nolan Tucker led the Crusaders with a 3-for-4 outing, driving in four runs and hit his first home run of the season. Jonathan Temple went 3-for-5 with an RBI, while Troy Jones, Christian Barczi, and Jeremy Drudge all went 2-for-5.

Louisville now rides a three-game winning streak heading into their next game, a Tuesday mid-week tilt against Xavier at 3:00 ET.

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