The fourth-ranked Louisville baseball team responded to an early three-run deficit by scoring the final seven runs in Saturday afternoon’s 8-4 series-opening win against Virginia Tech at Jim Patterson Stadium.
The Cardinals (21-5, 7-3 ACC) trailed 4-1 in the middle of the third inning before scoring in four consecutive innings to improve to 17-1 at home this season. Junior outfielder Logan Taylor and freshman second baseman Devin Mann had two hits each, while senior Danny Rosenbaum and junior outfielder Corey Ray added home runs. Saturday marked the third straight two-hit performance for Mann and the fourth multi-hit outing in the last six games for Taylor.
On the mound, sophomore lefthander Brendan McKay moved to 6-1 on the season and won his 15th career game after finishing with 10 strikeouts and allowing four runs on nine hits in 6.2 innings. Saturday’s game marked the second time this season McKay has struck out 10 or more and was the 13th time he has registered eight or more strikeouts in his career.
The Cardinals struck first on Saturday when Rosenbaum connected for his fourth home run of the season for a 1-0 lead in the second inning. A native of Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, Rosenbaum sent a 1-0 pitch from Kit Scheetz over the centerfield wall for his ninth career homer.
The lead was short-lived as the Hokies answered with a four-run third inning behind a pair of home runs. Matt Dauby led off the frame with his third home run of the season to even the score. Following singles from Saige Jenco and Ryan Tufts, Phil Sciretta gave Virginia Tech a 4-1 lead with a three-run, inside-the-park home run off the wall in centerfield. Taylor made a leaping attempt to catch the ball, which caromed off the top of the wall and away from Taylor, who was shaken up on the play. Sciretta circled the bases and scored without a play at the plate for his second home run, while Taylor recovered from the collision and remained in the game.
Louisville started its comeback with an unearned run in the bottom of the third inning when Mann doubled, moved to third on a groundout and scored on a two-out fielding error by the Hokies. The Cardinals evened the score at 4-4 in the fourth inning on a two-run home run off the bat of Ray. Following a double down the left field line by Taylor, Ray powered the first offering from Scheetz over the centerfield wall for his eighth homer of the season and the 20th of his collegiate career.
An inning later, the Cardinals regained the lead for good with a two-run double to right center by sophomore third baseman Blake Tiberi. After a one-out walk to McKay and a single to left by Hairston, Tiberi laced a 3-1 pitch into the gap to push Louisville ahead 6-4.
Louisville extended the advantage to 8-4 in the seventh inning on a two-run single to left field from junior outfielder Colin Lyman. McKay was hit by a pitch, Hairston walked and Rosenbaum was hit by a pitch to load the bases before Lyman sent a 1-1 pitch the other way for a pair of insurance runs.
The Cardinals and Hokies continue their series Sunday at 1 p.m., while the weekend finale is scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m., on ESPNU.
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