Game 2 (Saturday Recap)
Powered by a four-run fifth inning and seven quality innings from junior lefthander Drew Harrington, the fifth-ranked Louisville baseball team continued its dominance at Jim Patterson Stadium with Saturday afternoon’s 4-2 series-clinching win over No. 10 NC State.
The Cardinals (41-10, 18-8 ACC) won their 17th consecutive home game and improved to 31-1 this season at Patterson Stadium. Louisville has won each of its 10 ACC series at home during the last two seasons and are 308-91 (.771 winning percentage) all-time at the ballpark since its opening in 2005.
The four-run fifth inning, which included five of Louisville’s nine hits in the game, proved to be more than enough scoring as Harrington registered his 11th quality start (three or fewer earned runs in six or more innings) in 13 outings this season allowing two runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts and one walk in seven innings. The Elizabethtown, Kentucky native improved to 10-1 on the season giving the Cardinals a trio of 10-game winners (Kade McClure is 10-0 and Brendan McKay is 10-2). In nine ACC starts this season, Harrington is 7-0 with a 1.48 ERA.
After sophomore righthander Lincoln Henzman worked a scoreless eighth inning, junior righty Zack Burdi struck out all three batters he faced in a perfect ninth inning to register his third save this week and the ninth of the season. In his three relief appearances this week, Burdi has nine strikeouts without surrendering a hit or a walk in 4.1 innings pitched.
Sophomore Brendan McKay paced the way offensively for the Cardinals finishing 2-for-4 at the plate with his team-leading 17th double of the season and one RBI. The Darlington, Pennsylvania native has reached base safely in 35 straight games while lifting his batting average to .337 on the season. Redshirt freshman Drew Ellis was 2-for-2 with one RBI and scored once, while juniors Will Smith and Nick Solak added RBI singles.
Saturday’s decisive fifth inning for Louisville started with a leadoff single from sophomore Blake Tiberi, who was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior Danny Rosenbaum. After a wild pitch by lefty Brian Brown advanced him to third, Tiberi was driven home on a RBI single to center by Ellis. Following a walk to junior Corey Ray, Smith singled to left to score Ellis for the two-run lead. Solak followed with a RBI single to center to plate Ray before McKay’s RBI single to right sent Smith home.
The Wolfpack (32-16, 13-11 ACC), who were shutout in Friday’s series-opening loss to the Cardinals, broke through for their first runs of the weekend in the seventh inning. Evan Mendoza connected for a RBI single and Joe Dunand added a RBI groundball for the only two runs of the game for the road club. Brown was charged with the loss and dropped to 7-2 on the season after allowing four runs, all earned, on seven hits in 4.2 innings.
The Cardinals and Wolfpack will conclude their weekend series Sunday at 1 p.m., ET on ESPN3.
Game 1 (Friday Recap)
Sophomore lefthander Brendan McKay and junior righty Zack Burdi combined for 11 strikeouts as the No. 5 Louisville baseball team set a school record with its 11th shutout of the season in Friday night’s 2-0 victory against No. 10 NC State at Jim Patterson Stadium.
With a standing-room only crowd of 4,234 on hand for the series-opener, the Cardinals (40-10, 17-8 ACC) won for the 10th time in their last 11 outings and improved to 30-1 at home this season. The 11 shutouts for Louisville this season is one better than the previous school record total of 10 set during the 2010 season. Friday’s outing marked the 28th time in 50 games this season the Cardinals have allowed two or fewer earned runs.
McKay, a native of Darlington, Pennsylvania, finished with eight strikeouts and allowed just three hits in 7.2 innings to move to 10-2 on the season and 15-0 at home in his collegiate career. The two-way standout, who also doubled and reached base safely in 34 straight games at the plate, has pitched 17.0 consecutive shutout innings while winning three straight starts. McKay did not allow a runner to reach second base in Friday’s outing, which marked the ninth time this season and the 16th time in his career he has struck out eight or more.
Burdi followed McKay by ringing up three strikeouts in 1.1 innings of perfect relief to earn his eighth save of the season. Hailing from Downers Grove, Illinois, Burdi became the first player to ever register 101 mph on the Patterson Stadium scoreboard while delivering seven more pitches at 100 mph during Friday’s dominant relief outing.
Offensively, junior second baseman Nick Solak delivered a first inning solo home run for the Cardinals, while junior outfielder Logan Taylor added a RBI single in the seventh inning. Solak kicked things off by belting a 1-0 pitch from Cory Wilder over the left field wall for a two-out homer and a 1-0 lead. It marked the third home run of the season and the second this week for Solak, who had a two-run shot in Tuesday’s win at Vanderbilt.
The one-run advantage for the Cardinals stood until the seventh inning, when Taylor sent a 2-2 offering from Austin Staley into right field plating sophomore Blake Tiberi with two outs. That proved to more than enough for Louisville against NC State (32-15, 13-10 ACC), which finished with only three hits in the game, including just one during the final eight innings.