Sophomore Kade McClure dealt seven strong innings while three different Cardinals had two hits as the No. 5 Louisville baseball team breezed past Cincinnati for a 7-1 win on Tuesday night at Jim Patterson Stadium.
The Cardinals (36-9) extended their winning streak to six games and improved to 29-1 at home this season. Louisville moved to 22-2 in non-conference games in 2016 while also winning its 12th straight against the Bearcats (21-23-1).
McClure, a righthander from Mentor, Ohio, allowed only one run on six hits and finished with four strikeouts with just one walk to move to 9-0 in his 10 starts this season. Tuesday’s outing marked the second straight week McClure has worked a career-best seven innings and the seventh time this season he has surrendered no more than one earned run in a start.
Sophomore Colby Fitch paced the offense finishing 2-for-2 with a double, two walks, one RBI and two runs scored. Junior catcher Will Smith was 2-for-4 with a home run, while sophomore third baseman Blake Tiberi finished 2-of-4 with two RBI and scored once as the Cardinals finished with a 10-6 edge in hits.
The Cardinals gained command early in Tuesday’s game on a two-out, two-run single by Tiberi in the first inning against Cincinnati lefty A.J. Olasz. Junior second baseman Nick Solak started things with a two-out single and was followed by back-to-back walks to Fitch and sophomore shortstop Devin Hairston before Tiberi sent a 0-1 pitch up the middle for the 2-0 lead.
After the Bearcats broke through for their only run on a two-out RBI single by Vince Augustine in the top of the second, Louisville answered with a run in the bottom of the inning on a RBI sacrifice fly to center by junior Corey Ray to score redshirt freshman Drew Ellis. The Cardinals extended the lead to 4-1 in the third on bases loaded walk to Ellis to score Fitch.
Smith led off the fourth inning by belting his fourth home run of the season sending a 1-0 pitch from reliever Clayton Colvin over the left field wall. The margin was pushed to 6-1 in the sixth inning when Fitch drove Smith home with a two-out RBI double on the first pitch from reliever Dalton Lehnen. Louisville added its final run of the night in the seventh inning on a two-out RBI single to center by freshman pinch hitter Devin Mann to plate Tiberi.
Senior righty Anthony Kidston pitched a perfect eighth inning in relief for the Cardinals, while sophomore righty Sean Leland and freshman righty Sam Bordner combined for a scoreless ninth. Olasz took the loss for the Bearcats and dropped to 1-5 on the season.
Up next, the Cardinals begin a stretch of seven straight games against ranked opponents with a weekend road series at No. 17 North Carolina. The Cardinals and Tar Heels will open the series on Friday at 6 p.m., ET, while the Saturday and Sunday games are slated for 1 p.m., starts.
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