Senior Logan Taylor matched a career high with his second straight three-hit performance to lead the No. 6 Louisville baseball team to a 7-2 victory over the University of Nebraska Omaha in Friday afternoon’s series-opener at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Two days after connecting for three hits in a win over Eastern Kentucky, Taylor continued his hot start to the season finishing 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI, two stolen bases and two runs scored for the Cardinals, who improved to 5-0 for the first time since 2010. Taylor, who has hit safely in each of the first five games, has accumulated a .500 batting average, six RBI, seven runs scored, five walks and four stolen bases in as many attempts.
The Cardinals finished Friday’s game with a 15-4 advantage in hits as the top four players in the Louisville lineup accounted for nine of those hits. Junior Colby Fitch, hitting second in the lineup, was 2-for-4 with a double and one RBI, while sophomore Devin Mann was 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBI in the No. 3 spot. Cleanup hitter Brendan McKay added a pair of hits for his fourth two-hit performance in the first five games and drove in his team-leading 10th RBI.
Freshman Tyler Fitzgerald chipped in with a pair of doubles and scored once, while junior Devin Hairston connected for his first home run of the season. Senior Colin Lyman added a pair of hits as all nine starters in the Louisville lineup reached base safely in the win.
On the mound, McKay registered five strikeouts and allowed one earned run on two hits to earn his 23rd career victory and improve to 2-0 on the season. The 23 wins place McKay in sole possession of fourth-place in career victories at Louisville, while the next win will move him into a tie for third with Justin Amlung (24 wins, 2010-12).
Sophomore lefthander Adam Wolf backed up McKay by twirling a career-best three innings of shutout relief allowing only one hit and ringing up three strikeouts. Junior righty Lincoln Henzman recorded the final three outs of the game with a scoreless ninth inning.
Louisville opened the scoring Friday with a two-run single to left field by Mann to plate Taylor and Fitch. After Omaha scored an unearned run in the top of the second, the Cardinals answered in the bottom of the frame on a RBI bunt single from Taylor to send in Fitzgerald, who doubled earlier in the inning.
The home side added to the lead in the fourth inning on a solo home run by Hairston, who sent a 2-1 offering from Mavericks starter Sam Murphy onto the left field berm for his fifth career four-bagger. Following a RBI groundout in the fifth for Omaha (1-5), the Cardinals extended the lead to 5-2 in the sixth inning on RBI sacrifice fly to center by Taylor to score sophomore Josh Stowers.
The margin moved to 6-2 in the seventh after Mann tripled and scored on a RBI sacrifice fly to right by McKay. Louisville added its final run of the day in the eighth inning on a two-out RBI single to left by Fitch to send Taylor home.
The Cardinals and Mavericks will continue their series Saturday at 1 p.m., ET, while the weekend finale is set for Sunday at noon. Admission is free throughout the weekend at Jim Patterson Stadium.
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