In a game that featured five lead changes, 21 combined hits and four errors, the nearly four-hour broadway at Jim Patterson Stadium produced a lot of drama. But for Louisville baseball, this story would not end in tragedy again.
Stowers’ four RBI day, including scoring the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, propelled Louisville to an 8-7 victory over Xavier.
Louisville’s victory marked the fifth straight regional title for the Cardinals, with U of L also hosting its fourth straight Super Regional next weekend. The win also marked the fourth time in the last five seasons that head coach Dan McDonnell has won 50 games in a season.
It was a game that featured many moments, both dramatic and bizarre. Xavier broke a scoreless tie after three innings with a two RBI single from Nick Soria in the fourth. Stowers would follow it up in the bottom of the inning with a three-run homer to right center.
Xavier and Louisville would trade leads four times after that. Ethan Schmidt led off the fifth inning with a home run to tie the game. The Cardinals would rebound with a three-run sixth inning. Jake Snider and Logan Taylor added RBI singles to left field, while Brendan McKay had a high-arching infield single that would score Snider later in the inning.
But as was the theme throughout, Xavier answered the bell almost every time. Percy Fallon’s sacrifice bunt with two outs in the sixth gave the Musketeers a 4-3 lead. The Musketeers added three more runs in the seventh on a Rylin Bannon RBI single, and LaRue’s fielder’s choice plus an error to hold a 7-6 lead into the bottom seventh inning.
Stowers would add an RBI double to tie the game, and later score the go-ahead run in the seventh from Logan Taylor’s RBI single down the left field line. It was the third time in as many games that the Cardinals rallied to win in their regional; the Cards needed runs late to break a 6-6 tie against Radford on Friday, and then busted out ten runs in the final two innings to beat Oklahoma on Saturday. At the plate, Stowers (2-for-3), Taylor (2-for-4, two RBI) and Jake Snider (3-for-4) were the only Cardinals with a multihit game.
With Louisville’s usually stout bullpen struggling after Bennett left, McDonnell opted to put All-American closer Lincoln Henzman at the mound. Though Henzman did not record the save, the closer improved his record to 3-0 on the season with 2.2 innings of perfect pitching. Nick Bennett earned his first start since early May, pitching five innings while U of L used three relievers before settling on Henzman.
The Cardinals (50-10) now await the winner of tomorrow night’s regional final between Kentucky and NC State, with Super Regional times and dates announced on Tuesday.
The Atlantic Coast Conference announced their 2017 Baseball Honors this afternoon, and 3 Louisville Cardinals were awarded these honors. Coach Dan McDonnell was awarded Coach of the Year for an ACC record three straight times, Devin Hairston was awarded the inaugural Defensive Player of the Year, and Brendan McKay was awarded Player of the Year.
The Baseball Cards traveled down to South Carolina this weekend to face the Clemson Tigers, and they came back to the Ville unscathed. They swept the Tigers in a three game series to put them at 46-6 on the season, and 23-4 in the conference.
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Here’s Coach Dan McDonnell after today’s series clinching win vs Duke today at Jim Patterson Stadium.
If nothing else for the Louisville baseball team, they continue to be consistent after the first month of the season.
It was another week, another four wins for the Cards as they push their undefeated streak to 19-0. The record is now the hottest in the program’s 100-year history, passing the 17-0 mark set by the 1957 team.
Up next, the Cardinals will make their road trips of the season, starting with tonight’s clash at Cincinnati. U of L will follow that up with a weekend series at NC State.
With four more wins to enter St. Patrick’s Day weekend with a now 15-0 start, the Cardinals have finally reached number one in four of the six major polls. This is the first time the Cardinal Nine have reached the number one spot in their 100-year history.
Up next, the Cardinals look to not only retain their number one ranking, but reach their hottest start in the program’s history. U of L will open the week against Xavier, then have another ACC home stand against division foe Boston College.
1. Cards Top Latest Baseball Polls
As Matt McGavic wrote on Monday, U of L has earned their first number one ranking in the program’s 100-year history. The Cards came in at the top spot on the Perfect Game, Baseball America, USA Today/Coaches Poll. D1baseball.com and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper did not have Louisville as their #1 team; the Cards were one point behind Oregon State in the CBN poll on Monday, while they were ranked fourth in the D1baseball.com poll behind Florida State, Oregon State and TCU.
Here are today’s pressers from after game 3 vs Pitt to take the Cards to 15-0. Just a reminder: The Cards best start in history is 17-0. With wins Wednesday vs Xavier & a win vs BC on Friday, the Cards would be poised to make history. BC is no pushover in baseball with a win over #2 FSU. Good luck Cards #LetsMakeHistory