The No. 3 Louisville baseball team completed its sixth series sweep of the season with a 5-4 win over Bethune-Cookman in Sunday afternoon’s weekend finale at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Freshman Brendan McKay (Darlington, Pa.) connected for a three-run double in the sixth inning to push the Cardinals (34-10) ahead for good. It was the first of two doubles on the afternoon for McKay, while sophomore Corey Ray (Chicago, Ill.) finished 3-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored. Senior Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa.) chipped in with three hits and scored once.
On the mound, sophomore lefty Josh Rogers (New Albany, Ind.) won for the fifth time in his last six starts and improved to 7-1 on the season after striking out eight and allowing two runs on 10 hits in 6.0+ innings. Sophomore righty Zack Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill.) worked 1.2 innings of shutout relief to earn his team-leading fifth save of the season.
After Rogers and Bethune-Cookman starter Alex Seibold controlled the first five innings on Sunday, the Wildcats (15-34) were the first to find the scoring column breaking through for a pair of runs in the sixth inning. Nathan Bond started the scoring with a RBI single to plate Bryant Munoz and Austin Garcia followed with a RBI single to score Demetrius Sims.
The lead for the Wildcats was short-lived as the Cardinals answered with four runs in the bottom of the sixth, highlighted by the three-run double from McKay. After a trio of singles from Whiting, sophomore Nick Solak (Woodridge, Ill.) and Ray loaded the bases, McKay sent a 2-2 offering from lefty reliever Joseph Calamita down the left field line empting the bases for Louisville. Later in the inning, sophomore Will Smith (Louisville, Ky.) pushed senior Zach Lucas across with a RBI single to center for a 4-2 advantage.
Louisville added an important insurance run in the seventh inning after Ray tripled down the right field line and later scored on a wild pitch. The Wildcats cut into the margin with a pair of unearned runs in the eighth inning but got no closer as Burdi closed out the win with the final five outs.
Calamita was charged with the loss for Bethune-Cookman after allowing two runs on two hits without recording an out in a brief relief appearance. Seibold earned a no-decision while surrendering two runs on six hits in five innings.
Up next, No. 3 Louisville hosts rival Kentucky on Tuesday at 6 p.m., ET at Jim Patterson Stadium. The game was previously scheduled for April 8 but was postponed due to rain.
Tickets purchased for the previously scheduled date (April 8) for the Louisville-Kentucky game will be honored on Tuesday night. The purchased ticket for the April 8 game will be required for re-entry. Additional tickets for Tuesday’s make-up game are on sale through the University of Louisville Ticket Office and can be purchased online at GoCards.com, in person at the Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium location or by phone at 502-852-5151.
- The Cardinals improved to 22-4 at home this season and are 270-86 (.758 winning percentage) all-time at Jim Patterson Stadium since its opening in 2005.
- Through 44 games this season, the Louisville bullpen has a 1.31 ERA with a 14-0 record, 173 strikeouts to just 54 walks in 151.2 innings and opposing batters are hitting just .165.
- The Cardinals have won 129 straight games when entering the ninth inning with a lead dating back to May 2012, including a 31-0 mark this season.
- Louisville has allowed two or fewer earned runs in 29 of 44 games this season.
- As a pitching staff, the Cardinals have a 2.33 ERA with 426 strikeouts in 402.0 innings pitched.
- In his last nine starts, Josh Rogers is 7-0 with a 1.28 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 56.1 innings pitched.
- With his sixth inning single, Nick Solak extended his career-best hitting streak to 19 games. It is the longest hitting streak of the season for the Cardinals.
- In the three-game series against Bethune-Cookman, Zach Lucas was 6-for-11 (.545 average) with three RBI, four runs scored and two stolen bases.
- Through 11 weeks of baseball, Sutton Whiting leads the Cardinals with a .351 average and 32 walks while starting all 44 games.
- Corey Ray leads Louisville with nine home runs, 42 RBI, four triples, 35 runs scored and 24 stolen bases in 28 attempts.