Kick on the Stone Temple Pilots. 3’s and 7’s was the theme for Louisville baseball this week, as they went 4-0 over the week to increase their win streak from three to seven.
Below is a recap of Louisville’s weekend sweep of Western Michigan.
Game 1: Louisville bullpen stifles Western Michigan
Evan Webster secured the first win of his collegiate career, and Michael Kirian notched his fifth save of the season as Louisville’s bullpen was able to shutdown Western Michigan’s offense enough for the Cards to pull out a 4-2 win on Friday.
Tied at 2-2 entering the sixth inning, Webster and Kirian combined for four hitless innings on the mound, while Louisville’s offense pulled away with runs in the sixth and eighth innings to take game one of the series.
Western Michigan’s two runs in the first five innings came on a solo home run from Justin McIntyre in the first, and Logan Hudson’s RBI single in the fifth. Louisville’s two runs in the same span both came on sacrifice flies, one by Andrew Benefield (second) and Justin Lavey (fourth).
Another sac fly by Lavey in the sixth, after Louisville’s bullpen came out to relieve starter Reid Detmers, put the Cards ahead 3-2. Louisville’s lone RBI base hit would come in the eighth inning on Levi Usher’s single.
Usher went a perfect 3-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base on Friday. Justin Lavey had a double on his 1-for-2 day with a team-high two RBIs; Lavey, along with Ben Bianco and Zach Britton (both whom went 1-for-3), also had doubles for the Cards.
Evan Webster earned the first win of his college career, pitching three no-hit innings from the sixth to the eighth. Michael Kirian’s fifth save came in a no-hit ninth inning, and the junior is now 5-for-5 in save opportunities after this weekend. Reid Detmers was his usual self as the Friday starter, striking out ten batters, and allowing two earned runs on six hits in five innings of work.
Western Michigan was led at the plate by Logan Hudson (2-for-3, triple, RBI) and Justin McIntyre (1-for-5, HR, RBI). Blake Dunn went 1-for-4 with three stolen bases.
Game 2: Nine-run burst gives Louisville the series
A six-run third inning, followed by a three-run fourth, gave Louisville an easy 9-1 victory over Western Michigan on Saturday.
Four of Louisville’s six runs in the third inning came off fielding errors by Western Michigan, with all six in the frame coming unearned. A fielding error by the shortstop allowed Louisville to have its first run of the game, scoring Dalton Rushing from third. A two-RBI double from Zach Britton tripled Louisville’s lead to 3-0. A dropped fly ball and catcher error led to three more runs by Louisville in the third inning, giving the Cards a commanding 6-0 lead through the first three.
Western Michigan’s only run would come in the top of the fourth, as Blake Dunn had an RBI on his groundout to the second baseman. Louisville would answer WMU’s run in the fourth with a bases-clearing RBI double from Danny Oriente in the bottom half, bringing in three runs.
Louisville’s pitching prowess was once again on display against Western Michigan, holding the Broncos to 3-of-30 (.100) at the plate and striking out 13 batters for the third straight game. Bobby Miller advanced his record to 2-0 with 6.2 innings of work, allowing just one unearned run on three hits with eight strikeouts. Tate Kuehner and Ryan Hawks combined for another stellar performance in Louisville’s bullpen, throwing 2.1 perfect innings in relief.
Danny Oriente and Zach Britton both had 1-for-4 days at the plate, combining for all five of Louisville’s RBIs (Oriente 3, Britton 2). Both also had the only extra-base hits by Louisville, as Oriente and Britton’s lone hits went for RBI doubles.
Game 3: Cards complete sweep in convincing fashion
Louisville led from wire-to-wire in game three of the series, taking a 16-0 victory over Western Michigan to complete a weekend sweep.
Ben Bianco got Louisville on the board with a grand slam in the first inning, giving the Cards a sizable 4-0 lead in the opening frame. Bianco’s grand slam is the first by a Louisville player since May 2019.
Five more runs in the third would blow the game wide open in Louisville’s favor. Jared Poland and Luke Brown both had RBI singles to increase the lead to 6-0, then Danny Oriente’s bases-loaded walk brought another run home to bump it to 7-0. Zach Britton’s RBI fielder’s choice and an RBI single by Bianco would give the Cards a 9-0 lead after three.
The fourth, fifth, and sixth innings saw the Cards add a run in each inning. Ben Metzinger had an RBI single in the fourth, and a solo homer in the sixth. Henry Davis wedged an RBI single of his own in the fifth inning, leaving the Cards with a 12-0 lead after six innings.
Three more runs would come for Louisville in the seventh. Trey Leonard’s flyout netted one run, and Metzinger added two with an RBI single to give Louisville the 15-0 advantage. Tim Borden II added one more run for good measure in the eighth inning, a solo home run to bump the lead up to 16-0.
While Louisville’s offense was scorching throughout the game, Luke Smith was on a mission on the mound in the series finale. The senior earned the win with seven shutout innings of work, allowing just three hits and striking out four in the process.
Ben Metzinger had another solid outing as Louisville’s third baseman, batting 3-for-4 as the leadoff with four RBIs, two walks, and a home run. Luke Brown also had a great game as the two-hole hitter, going 3-for-4 with an RBI. Ben Bianco went 2-for-4 with five RBIs, four of those coming on a grand slam in the first.
Louisville (8-3) will look to continue their streak on Tuesday against in-state foe Morehead State, 3:00 ET inside Jim Patterson Stadium.