Playing in their longest game since a 13 inning affair vs. Eastern Michigan on March 4, 2017, the #7 Louisville Cardinals (41-12, 19-8) came out on top, edging out the the #25 Indiana Hoosiers (33-19) by a score of 8-7 in 12 innings on the Hoosiers’ own diamond. Every player in the starting lineup tallied a base hit, and the pitching staff tossed 23 strikeouts for their most since 2000. Tyler Fitzgerald was the hero for Louisville, delivering the go-ahead run off an amazing slide at home plate.
The Cardinal Nine certainly got started on the right foot, exploding for 5 runs in just the first 3 innings of the game. Held scoreless in the first, freshman catcher Henry Davis got the scoring efforts started for the Cards in the second inning with his 17th RBI of this season. Second baseman Justin Lavey drew another run in the inning off a fielder’s choice, but the next inning’s runs would be a touch more dramatic.
Working the pitcher, freshman phenom Alex Binelas took a 9 pitch at-bat and launched a 3 run home run for his team leading 11th homer. He is the first Cardinal with double digit long balls as a freshman since Chris Dominguez had 15 in 2007. Preseason All-American first baseman Logan Wyatt also chipped in with a bases loaded walk in the fourth to give Louisville the game’s first 6 runs.
Starting pitcher freshman Jack Perkins gave Louisville some quality innings in his fourth start of 2019, putting up one of his better pitching performances of the season. In his 3.0 inning start, he struck out 6 of the first 10 batters he faced to tie his career high in strikeouts.
Unfortunately for him, it all came crashing down in the fourth inning. Failing to record an out, he would surrender three straight extra base hits, 2 walks and 2 wild pitches to plate 3 runs for the Hoosiers before he was inevitably yanked. Inheriting a runners on the corners jam, junior reliever Adam Elliott would load the bases and surrender a run via the bases loaded walk to the Hoosiers.
He would be pulled immediately in favor of right-handed reliever Bryan Hoeing, where he would do the same thing but not before striking out a pair of batters before inning’s end. Before his night would be done, the senior would add an additional 2 strikeouts to his ledger in his 2.2 inning relief outing.
As part of a 3-4 performance on the afternoon, junior outfielder Danny Oriente stretched the lead out to 2 thanks to an RBI single in the top of the seventh, but the lead wouldn’t last much longer. The bottom of the inning saw the Hoosiers complete the comeback from their big early deficit, plating 2 runs off of junior reliever Shay Smiddy to even up the score at 7 runs a piece after 7 innings in the books.
Freshman Garrett Schmeltz was able to strikeout the side in the eighth with fireballing closer Michael McAvene tossing a pair in the ninth, forcing the game into extra innings. He would strikeout the side in the first inning of free baseball, but the Louisville offense would not catch up to the pitchers until the 12th inning. Alex Binelas would groundout to give Tyler Fitzgerald a chance to dart home, with the junior shortstop narrowly avoiding the tag at home to score the go ahead run.
W: Luke Smith (5-0), L: Matt Lloyd (0-1)