Playing in a weekend home series marred by torrential rainfall, the #7 Louisville Cardinals (31-9, 15-6) ironically welcomed the #22 Miami Hurricanes (27-14, 11-10) to 3rd and Central where they won the three game series two games to one. Louisville and Miami split the first two games of the series, with Louisville taking the third in only their second rubber match of the season.
Like in the games against Kentucky and NC State, Louisville’s offense was red hot over the weekend. Including this series vs. the Canes, Louisville has now registered double digit hits in 8 of their last 9 games. The catalyst for the Cards against Miami was without a doubt first baseman Logan Wyatt, The junior went 8-14 with 3 home runs and 10 RBIs against the Canes, including .432 with 4 home runs and 21 RBIs in his last 10 games.
Pitching was a detriment at times for the Cards, but that can be mostly attributed to the rain. All three starters put up relatively quality starts, with the bullpen pulling their weight in 2 of the three games. For the one game in which the bullpen played a role in a loss, more than half the runs given up were as a direct result of the weather and is not an indicator of any further struggles.
Red Hot Offense Carries Cards To Victory
Playing in their first Thursday game of the season, the Cardinals excelled in all facets of their game. Both hitting and pitching combined to bring down the Miami Hurricanes to the tune of 7-5 in game 1 of their three game series at Jim Patterson Stadium. The victory extended Louisville’s win streak to 7 in a row, while simultaneously snapping Miami’s six game win streak.
Batting .381 over their last six games, the Cardinal Nine brought their blistering offense home with them after spending 6 of their last 7 games on the road. They were the first the crack the scoreboard with a 3-run third inning, thanks to an RBI single from outfielder Jake Snider and a 2 run home run from first baseman Logan Wyatt, his fifth of the year. Wyatt would drive in another run in the fifth for his third RBI of the game, but not before an RBI base hit from infielder Justin Lavey and sacrifice fly from outfielder Lucas Dunn in the fourth. Heading into today’s game, Dunn and Lavey had been batting a combined .313 with 12 RBI since the Clemson series finale.
With it being the opening game of a three game series, the visiting Canes were greeted with a healthy dose of Reid Detmers under the lights of Jim Patterson Stadium. However, the Canes gave him a taste of their offense firepower as well. The sophomore southpaw struck out 7 batters in 5.2 innings for his lowest strikeout total since the season opener against UConn, while subsequently allowing 3 earned runs including giving up his 7th home run over his last 3 starts. Fortunately, he limited Miami to just 5 hits while he was in the game and allowed no walks. Reid’s sixth strikeout of the game put him at the 100 plateau on the season, becoming the 12th pitcher in program history with triple digit strikeouts in a season.
Logan Wyatt would set a new season high in RBIs with 4, as he would walk with the base loaded to plate Louisville’s 7th run of the game. This would give him his 44th walk of the season, good for 1st in the ACC and 3rd nationally. It was also Louisville’s final run of the game, giving the bullpen a 4 run lead to work with against one of the better offenses in the ACC. But Bryan Hoeing and Michael Kirian were up to the task. While they did surrender 2 runs over the final 3.1 innings, the senior and sophomore collectively struck out 5 batters and issued no walks, with Kirian being credited with his second save of the season.
W: Reid Detmers (7-2), L: Slade Ceccioni (5-3), S: Michael Kirian (2)
Rain Drowns Cards, Forces Rubber Match
Playing in less than optimal conditions, the rain and hitting prowess of the Hurricanes combined to take down the Cards 16-11 in a game that lasted 22 hours when taking into account rain delays. The 16 walks issued by the Louisville pitchers set a new team record, breaking the old record of 15 against Southern Indiana on March 6th, 1990. Conversely, the 17 hits tallied by Louisville were the most in a loss since they also had 17 May 11, 2010 in 17 innings against Vanderbilt.
Like they have for a majority of the season, the Cardinals were quick to strike. They scored in the first inning for the 21st time in 2019, suffering only their fourth loss when scoring in the opening frame on the season. Louisville lit up the scoreboard off a single swing of the bat, thanks to first baseman Logan Wyatt. The junior All-American launched his second home run in as many days, this time bringing home three runs to give the Cards an early 3-0 advantage.
Inserted into the second spot of the weekend lineup due to issues with rest with Nick Bennett, right-hander Bobby Miller had an efficient day on the mound against the Hurricanes. While the sophomore did only strikeout 3 batters over his 5.1 inning start, he did limit Miami to just 1 run on 3 hits. Unfortunately, the sloppy conditions caught up to Cards in the sixth inning and the pitchers could not get proper grip on the ball. Miami notched 3 hits and drew 7 walks as well as capitalized on 2 Louisville wild pitches to plate 9 runs in a 58 minute top of the sixth. By the time the third out was recorded, six Louisville pitchers saw action in that half inning alone.
The rain would wind up delaying the contest in the bottom of the inning until the next day where conditions were much more suited for a baseball game. The Cards would take advantage of the better conditions by plating their first runs since the first inning. A pair of RBI base hits from outfielder Drew Campbell and catcher Zeke Pinkham would give Louisville 3 runs and cut the deficit to 4. However, Miami also took advantage of the better playing conditions. A pair of bases loaded walks and a grand slam would completely break open the game and give Miami a 16-6 lead with just 6 outs left for the Cards.
Despite being down 10 runs, it didn’t stop Louisville from still putting their best foot forward. In the eighth inning, an RBI double from Zach Britton and Logan Wyatt’s second 3-run home run of the game would give the Cards their 18th inning of 4 or more runs. Including this game, Wyatt had been batting .436 with 4 home runs and 21 RBIs in his last 9 games. Junior shortstop Tyler Fitzgerald would add another run with an RBI single in the ninth, but the large deficit the Cards had faced in the second half of the game proved to be too much.
W: JP Gates (1-1), L: Adam Elliott (2-2)
Cards Complete Rally To Clinch Series
Playing in only their second rubber match of the season (UConn), the Cardinals plated 9 runs in a row to overcome the visiting Hurricanes 9-6 and clinch the weekend series. Head coach Dan McDonnell moves to 12-4 in ACC rubber matches, and with Louisville also winning 8 of their last 9.
The Canes jumped out to a big early lead by using the same recipe they did in game 2 of the series. Starting in his first game 3 start since his freshman year, junior Nick Bennett surrendered a pair of walks and a pair of 3 RBI extra base hits, one of which was a home run. However the southpaw was able to pitch relatively well after his rough start to the game. Going 4.2 innings deep for his shortest outing of the year, he was able to strikeout 6 Miami batters and only allowed 1 hit and 1 walk after the first inning.
Taking their first cuts of the game with a six run deficit, Louisville quickly went into rally mode. A groundout RBI from Tyler Fitzgerald in the opening frame would put the Cards on the scoreboard for the 22nd time in the first inning, but it was the fourth inning that Louisville made it a game and really got the rally going.
Bases loaded walks from Drew Campbell and Jake Snider as well as a bases loaded HBP drawn by Justin Lavey would drawn the Cards to within 2 runs of the Canes. Following the fourth inning 3-spot, Logan Wyatt became just the second Cardinal this season (Justin Lavey) to steal home, doing so in the fifth. Louisville would complete the comeback effort in the sixth, with a Trey Leonard sacrifice fly tying the game and an RBI single from Tyler Fitzgerald taking the lead.
Hoping to hold onto the lead and clinch the series, Louisville added a pair of insurance run in the late innings thanks to a sacrifice fly in the seventh from Justin Lavey and an RBI double in the eighth from Tyler Fitzgerald for his third RBI of the contest. Backing up the hitters was a much improved bullpen effort from Louisville’s two best relief pitchers. Sophomore southpaw Michael McAvene and junior right-hander Michael Kirian combined for 4.1 shutout innings, allowing only 2 hits and striking out 4 batters. Kirian would also get his 4th save of season and his second of the series.
W: Michael McAvene (2-0), L: Daniel Federman (1-3), S: Michael Kirian (4)