Louisville Baseball scored 9 runs in the 1st 4 innings Wednesday vs. Purdue on its way to a 9-4 victory. Now the Cards look to take on defending National Champion Virginia in a 3-game series at Jim Patterson Stadium. It’s an important set for the Cards who have lost two road series so far this year (Ole Miss & Miami). UofL Baseball (17-4) has beaten the teams it has been expected to, but hasn’t capitalized in the big moments yet that can earn UofL a National Seed in the NCAA Tournament. This weekend’s series vs. Virginia presents that type of opportunity. But back to last night’s baseball……
Junior second baseman Nick Solak paced the way for the Cardinals (17-4) going 4-for-4 with a double, triple and two runs scored. The Woodridge, Illinois native has reached base safely in 33 straight games and lifted his season batting average to .461. Solak was among six Cardinals to finish with at least two hits as Louisville out-hit the Boilermakers 17-4.
Junior outfielder Logan Taylor finished 3-for-5 with a double, a stolen base and a run scored, while sophomore catcher Colby Fitch was 2-for-3 with a double, one RBI and scored twice. Junior outfielder Corey Ray added two hits with a double, two RBI and a stolen base, sophomore shortstop Devin Hairston was 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI, one run and a stolen base and sophomore first baseman Brendan McKay was 2-of-3 with two RBI.
On the mound, sophomore righthander Kade McClure won his fifth consecutive start and moved to 5-0 on the season allowing four runs on two hits with six strikeouts in a career-high six innings pitched. A trio of Louisville relievers – freshman righty Sam Bordner, junior lefty Dylan Shoffner and senior righty Anthony Kidston – followed McClure and combined for three shutout innings to preserve the five-run cushion.
The Cardinals wasted little time in taking command on Wednesday evening scoring four runs on six hits in the first inning while also chasing Purdue starter Alex Lyons before he could record three outs. The Cardinals connected for six straight hits in the inning bookended by doubles from Fitch and Hairston. Solak followed Fitch with a single to right before McKay drove Fitch home with a RBI single. Sophomore third baseman Blake Tiberi singled to left to plate Solak and after a single to center by junior catcher Will Smith, Hairston drove McKay and Tiberi home with a RBI double to left.
Louisville added to the lead in the second inning on a RBI single to center by Fitch to score Taylor and a RBI groundout off the bat of McKay to plate Fitch. The margin extended to 8-0 in the third inning on a two-out, two-run single to center by Ray to send Smith and Hairston home. Solak led off the fourth with his first triple of the season before scoring on a groundout off the bat of Tiberi for the ninth and final run of the night for the Cardinals.
The Boilermakers broke through for their only runs of the night when senior first baseman Kyle Wood delivered a one-out grand slam in the sixth inning. With the bases loaded on a single and two walks, Wood connected on a 0-1 offering sending it over the wall in left center for his team-leading eighth home run of the season to cut the Louisville lead to 9-4.
Up next, No 7 Louisville returns home to host reigning NCAA champion and ninth-ranked Virginia for a three-game series at Jim Patterson Stadium. The Cardinals and Cavaliers are slated for Friday at 6 p.m., ET, Saturday at 1 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m., and admission is free throughout the weekend.
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