Louisville overcame a 5-2 deficit down the stretch, putting up six combined runs in the seventh and eighth innings as the Cardinals (5-3) pulled out an 8-5 comeback victory over the Xavier Musketeers (2-5).
The Cards avenged last season’s loss to the Musketeers, one that saw Xavier pull out a 5-4 win in extra innings over Louisville at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Xavier controlled most of the game as Louisville’s offense couldn’t get going after the first inning. A wild pitch by starter Michael Prosecky allowed the Musketeers to score their first run in the first inning, but Louisville got two runs of their own in the bottom half. Danny Oriente’s sac fly and Cameron Masterman’s single both netted RBIs, giving the Cards a 2-1 lead after one.
The middle stretch of the game saw Xavier gradually build a 5-2 lead entering the stretch. Lane Flamm kicked off the fourth inning with a solo homer off Prosecky, tying the game at 2-2. Jack Housinger added an RBI double in the fifth that put the Musketeers ahead 3-2, with a passed ball adding another to extend it to 4-2. A fielding error in the sixth allowed Xavier to score another run and increase their lead to 5-2.
Louisville’s offense fell into a cold stretch after the first inning, while Xavier built their lead up. Double plays in the second and fourth led to scoreless frames in those innings, and the third and fifth innings saw Louisville retired in order.
Coming out of the stretch, Louisville would build up the momentum they needed to secure the win. A two-RBI double by Danny Oriente cut Xavier’s lead to 5-4, putting the Cardinals in position to setup the comeback rally in the final two innings.
Louisville would get four runs in the eighth to take the lead for good. Levi Usher’s RBI single tied the game at 5-5. Justin Lavey reached first on a bases-loaded fielder’s choice, which brought Luke Brown home to give the Cards a 6-5 lead. An RBI double by Tim Borden II and an RBI single by Oriente would bump Louisville’s lead to 8-5. With a three-run lead entering the ninth, Michael Kirian retired the side in the final inning for his fourth save of the season.
The Cards recorded 15 hits and averaged .417 at the plate today, led by third baseman Ben Metzinger. The sophomore went 3-for-5 in his second start at third base and as the leadoff in the batting order for the first time. Meanwhile, Danny Oriente provided steady production in the 2-hole, going 2-for-4 with a double and 4 RBI. Cameron Masterman (2-for-3) and Levi Usher (2-for-4) also chipped in with multi-hit games, while Ben Bianco went 1-for-2 and tallied the only two walks by Louisville.
Adam Elliott was credited with the win in relief, going perfect in the seventh and eighth innings with two strikeouts. Michael Kirian recorded his fourth save of the season with a perfect ninth inning, as the Cardinals tallied 13 strikeouts against the Musketeers.
Natale Monastra went 2-for-5 at the plate, leading the Musketeers as the only batter with a multi-hit game. Luke Franzoni and Jack Housinger each had doubles, with Lane Flamm hitting his second home run of the season. Trevor Olson had a deep start on the mound, going six innings and allowing just two earned runs on eight hits. However, Xavier tallied four errors in the game.
Louisville now rides a four-game winning streak heading into the weekend series against Western Michigan. The Cards and Broncos start the series at 3:00 ET Friday inside Jim Patterson Stadium.