Louisville Baseball: Cards Sweep Virginia Tech in Weekend Series


The Louisville Baseball team came into this week determined to get back to their winning ways, especially in conference play, and they did just that.

Louisville Baseball began their week at home, winning a 7-2 game against in-state opponent Northern Kentucky.  Sophomore Austin Dickey picked up the win (his first), striking out two and allowing just a single hit in two innings.

The Cardinals then hit the road for a weekend showdown with ACC foe Virginia Tech. The series was set to be played Friday-Saturday-Sunday, but the Sunday forecast forced the teams into a Saturday doubleheader.

Winning on the road isn’t easy, especially when your opponent is celebrating the grand opening of it’s newly-renovated stadium.  Louisville would not be phased by fireworks, however, as it held the Hokies to just four runs over the course of 27 innings.

Coming into the series, the teams had identical 6-9 ACC records. With the three-game sweep over the Hokies, the Louisville baseball team now sits alone in fourth place in the Atlantic Division, at 24-11 overall  (9-9 ACC). This ACC record is good for seventh overall in the league.

The Cards entered the weekend on a mission to limit errors, pitch big, and get timely hits, three things that haven’t come easy for them this season. During their series with Virginia Tech however, we saw improvement in all three areas.

The Cards had two error-free games and allowed just a single unearned run. This statistic was quite the feat as the Cards surrendered eight unearned runs just last weekend.

The Friday night opener was highlighted by decisive pitching and some late drama. The Cardinals started the game quickly, scoring in the opening frame courtesy of an RBI single by sophomore Logan Wyatt.  The Cardinals carried the 1-0 advantage to the fifth inning, when the Hokies broke through for a pair.

More from Big Red Louie

These three runs were the only to be scored through the first seven innings, as a pitcher’s duel transpired.  The starting pitchers for both Louisville and Virginia Tech combined for 19 strikeouts.

The eighth inning, however, featured not one, not two, but three video reviews. All three of which ended in Louisville’s favor. The first and second reviews benefited the Cards the most, as runners at both first and home were ultimately ruled safe, scoring the Cards’ second run.

The Cards’ resiliency continued into the ninth inning as Josh Stowers launched the go-ahead run beyond the wall in left-center. Junior closer Sam Bordner struck out two in the ninth and the Cards won 3-2.

The second game of the series saw sophomore Nick Bennett throw eight near-perfect innings. Bennett didn’t allow a single earned run while striking out seven, scattering three hits, and walking just one Hokie.

Both teams took advantage of an unearned run, as sophomore Ethan Stringer reached on a Virginia Tech error in the third inning and eventually came around to score off the bat of freshman Lucas Dunn. Two innings later, Stowers singled and junior Zeke Pinkham drove him home, doubling the Cards’ advantage.

The Hokes lone run came in the fifth, following a failed pickoff by Bennett. Louisville would eventually add an insurance run in the 9th as Wyatt doubled and came around to score on an RBI single by sophomore Danny Oriente. Border again finished things off for the Cards, striking out two in the ninth and securing the 3-1 win.

The final game of the series, the nightcap of the doubleheader, was quickly Louisville’s. The Cardinals scored 13 runs over the first three innings, seven of which came in the second inning. Six hits, eight free passes, and three errors allowed the Cards to take command early.

All nine starters for Louisville managed to cross home plate, highlighted by Oriente’s three RBIs and junior Devin Mann’s four walks. The Cardinals never looked back in the series finale, as four pitchers held the Hokies at bay.  Freshman Bobby Miller got the win, giving up one run, three hits, no walks, and striking out four in his six innings pitched. The Cards won 16-1.

All in all, it was a very productive week for the Cardinal Nine.  They delivered timely hits, pitched productive innings, and really limited their fielding errors. It was very promising to see appearances by junior catcher Zeke Pinkham and sophomore right-handed pitcher Michael McAvene this week as they had been sidelined with injuries.  The Cards hopefully gained some much-needed momentum this week, as the schedule doesn’t get any easier.

Next: 2018 Spring Game Recap

The Cards will face in-state rival Kentucky at home on Tuesday at 6 p.m. before hosting the Virginia Cavaliers for a three-game weekend series at Jim Patterson Stadium.