Freshmen Brendan McKay and Kade McClure combined for nine strong innings on the mound as the No. 3 Louisville baseball team clinched its ninth straight series victory with Saturday afternoon’s 7-2 win over Bethune-Cookman at Jim Patterson Stadium.
McKay, a lefty from Darlington, Pa., finished with 11 strikeouts and allowed just two runs on five hits in six innings to win his second straight start and improve to 7-1 on the season. Saturday’s performance was one strikeout shy of a career high for McKay, who finished with 12 at Notre Dame on March 21.
McClure, a righty from Mentor, Ohio, struck out a pair and allowed just two hits in three shutout innings of relief to clinch his second career save. Saturday marked the 28th time in 43 games this season the Cardinals (33-10) have allowed two or fewer earned runs.
At the plate, senior Zach Lucas (Louisville, Ky.) was 2-for-4 with a double, two stolen bases and two runs scored, while senior Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa.) added two hits, one RBI and scored once. Sophomore Nick Solak (Woodridge, Ill.) extended his career-best hitting streak to 18 games with a pivotal two-run double and freshman Blake Tiberi (Taylor Mill, Ky.) chipped in with a two-run double.
The Cardinals started the scoring on Saturday in the second inning on a RBI single to center by junior Danny Rosenbaum (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) to plate Lucas for the 1-0 lead. Lucas led off the inning with a double down the left field line before scoring one hitter later for Louisville, which improved to 25-0 this season when scoring first.
The visiting Wildcats gained their only lead of the afternoon at 2-1 in the fourth inning following a RBI double by Nathan Bond and a run-scoring single from Jameel Edney. However, that lead was short-lived as Louisville answered in the bottom of the fourth when Solak delivered a two-run double down the left field line to score sophomore Logan Taylor (Lexington, Ky.) and Whiting.
Louisville added to the cushion in the fifth inning on the two-run double to center by Tiberi off Bethune-Cookman (15-33) starter Tyler Norris, who dropped to 3-3 on the season with the loss. McKay, who singled to lead off the frame, and senior Mike White (East Orange, N.J.), who also reached with a single, scored on the pinch hit double for the 5-2 lead.
The Cardinals increased the advantage to 7-2 in the seventh inning after Lucas scored from third on a wild pitch and Rosenbaum was driven in on a RBI single by Whiting. Lucas led off the inning with a single to center and stole both second and third before scoring. Rosenbaum was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a walk to Taylor before being driven in by Whiting.
Louisville will look to secure its sixth series sweep of the season on Sunday at 1 p.m., ET at Jim Patterson Stadium in the finale with Bethune-Cookman and admission is free.
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