Taking the home diamond for the first time in 2019, the #8 Louisville Cardinals (2-2) jumped out to a quick start and never looked back, as they defeated the Eastern Kentucky Colonels (2-2) to the tune of 5-1. It extends their win streak to 12 straight over the Colonels, and head coach Dan McDonnell improves to 17-1 against EKU.
The Cardinal Nine got off to a fast start in their first home game of the regular season, and it had Tyler Fitzgerald’s fingerprints all over it. With two runners on, the junior shortstop drilled a ringing double into the right-center field gap, sending baserunners Lucas Dunn and Jake Snider home for the game’s first two runs. After advancing to third, a wild pitch gave Fitzgerald the opportunity he was looking for and he was able to slide home and give Louisville a 3-0 advantage after the opening frame.
On the mound, JUCO transfer right-hander Luke Smith made his second appearance of the season and his first start in a Cardinal uniform. The junior from Parkland College tossed 6 strikeouts over his 6.0 inning start, and did not surrender a single run. While EKU did notch themselves an unearned run via a wild pitch in the top of the fifth to crack the scoreboard, an RBI groundout from preseason All-American first baseman Logan Wyatt and a wild pitch to send Tyler Fitzgerald home would further extend the Cards’ lead.
While the Cards did maintain a decent lead throughout most of the game, some of their struggles with clutch hitting in the UConn series carried into today’s game. They struggled at times to really put the game out of reach for the Colonels and failed to capitalize on a handful of opportunities. The Cardinal Nine went 2-12 with runners in scoring position, including a fly out with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh inning. However, Louisville was able to get solid bullpen work from Michael Kirian, Michael McAvene and Shay Smiddy, as the trio tossed 3 scoreless relief innings and 4 strikeouts to seal the victory over the Colonels.
Up next, the #8 Louisville Cardinals will face the Brown Bears on Friday at 3pm at Jim Patterson stadium, kicking off a three game weekend series.
W: Luke Smith (1-0), L: Julian Jackson (0-2)
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