Five Cardinals finished with at least two hits as seventh-ranked Louisville pounded out an 11-4 series-clinching road victory over No. 9 Virginia on Sunday afternoon at Davenport Field.
Sophomore Corey Ray (Chicago, Ill.) was 4-for-5 with two doubles, two stolen bases, two runs scored and one RBI to pace the way for the Cardinals (24-7, 13-1 ACC), who extended their conference winning streak to 12 games overall. Senior Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa.) finished 2-of-4 with a pair of doubles, three RBI and two runs scored, while fellow senior Zach Lucas (Louisville, Ky.) was 2-for-5 with a home run as Louisville won its sixth straight overall.
Freshman Colby Fitch (Rocheport, Mo.) chipped in with a pair of hits and two RBI and junior Danny Rosenbaum (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) added two hits, one RBI and scored once as Louisville out-hit Virginia (19-11, 6-8 ACC) 14-5.
On the mound, freshman lefty starter Brendan McKay (Darlington, Pa.) improved to 5-0 on the season after striking out six and allowing four runs on four hits in seven innings. Sophomore lefty Drew Harrington (Elizabethtown, Ky.) recorded the final six outs of the game for the Cardinals, who will attempt to complete the series sweep on Monday at 7 p.m., ET in a nationally televised matchup on ESPNU.
“We showed our toughness today and we have a lot of belief in our pitching staff, which allows our offense to relax,” said Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell. “We’re getting quality starts on the mound, we’re playing pretty good defense and right now, we’re swinging the bats really well. But I also don’t want to make too much of any of this right now. We can’t get too high and we can’t get too low because there’s a lot of baseball left to play. We want to get better each day and play our best baseball as the season goes deeper.”
For the second straight game in the series, the Cardinals scored first plating a run in the opening inning on a RBI double off the left field wall by Ray. Solak scored on the double after singling to right earlier in the inning.
Louisville added to the lead in the fourth inning when Lucas and Rosenbaum scored on a double to left by Whiting. The inning started with a leadoff single through the left side by Lucas, while Rosenbaum reached on a fielding error by Virginia second baseman Ernie Clement. After senior Mike White (East Orange, N.J.) was hit to load the bases, a flare to left off the bat of Whiting settled between UVA outfielder Pavin Smith and shortstop Daniel Pinero pushing across two for the 3-0 lead.
An inning later, the Cardinals scored their fourth run of the afternoon on a two-out RBI single to left by Fitch. Ray led off the inning with a single to right, moved to second with a stolen and advanced to third on a deep flyball to center before scoring.
After five no-hit innings on the mound from McKay, the Cavaliers connected for their first hit of the game on a one-out single by Christian Lowry to start a four-run sixth inning. After a pair of walks loaded the bases for Virginia, Kenny Towns connected on a bases clearing triple to left center that landed just out of the reach of White, who ranged a long distance from his centerfield position. Smith followed with a RBI single to left field to score Towns and even the score at 4-4.
Louisville answered in the seventh inning when Lucas powered a 0-1 offering from Cavaliers lefty Kevin Doherty out of the ballpark and over the bleachers in left center for his third home run of the season. The homer not only pushed the Cardinals back ahead, but it also brought the momentum back their way as they added five more runs in the eighth to lock the game away.
The scoring in the eighth started with a RBI double to right by Whiting to plate freshman Ryan Summers (Westfield, Mass.), who was hit by a pitch to start the inning. After moving to third on a wild pitch, Whiting scored the second run on a RBI sacrifice fly to center by Solak. Ray continued the inning with a double to left center, stole third and then scored on a fielding error by Pinero. Fitch and Rosenbaum added RBI singles to close the inning. Louisville added its final run of the day in the ninth inning on a RBI sac fly by freshman Blake Tiberi (Taylor Mill, Ky.).
Doherty took the loss for Virginia and dropped to 1-1 on the season after allowing three runs on two hits in 1.1 innings of relief. He followed starter Connor Jones, who finished with the no-decision after giving up four runs, just two earned, on nine hits in six innings.
Louisville Postgame Notes
- Louisville clinched its 10th straight series win against nationally ranked foes.
- The Cardinals improved to 16-0 this season when scoring first and 9-0 when scoring in the first inning.
- Louisville has scored first in 11 of its 14 ACC games and has won all of those.
- The Cardinals have finished with 10 or more hits in three straight games and six of the last nine overall.
- In each of the first two games of the series at Virginia, the Cardinals have regained the lead for good in the seventh inning after the Cavaliers tied the game in the sixth.
- Louisville has scored five runs in an inning each of the first two games of the series.
- The Cardinals have scored four or more runs in an inning nine times this season.
- In three games this week, Corey Ray is 9-for-15 with three doubles, one triple, one home run, nine RBI and two stolen bases.
- The four hits on Sunday matched a career-high for Ray.
- Along with his 5-0 record, Brendan McKay has a 2.03 ERA and 55 strikeouts with just 13 walks in 40.0 innings pitched this season.
- In 14 ACC games, Ray is hitting .349 with two home runs, 15 RBI and is 13-for-15 on stolen bases.
- Sutton Whiting has reached base safely in all 14 ACC games and leads the Cardinals with a .421 average in conference play.