Louisville Baseball completes sweep to start 2023 Season

Louisville's Ryan Hawks is congratulated by teammates as he comes to the dugout in the first inning during Louisville baseball's opening day on Friday, February 17, 2023Baseball11
Louisville's Ryan Hawks is congratulated by teammates as he comes to the dugout in the first inning during Louisville baseball's opening day on Friday, February 17, 2023Baseball11 /

The University of Louisville baseball team has begun the 2023 season with an opening weekend series sweep of the Bucknell Bison. Head Coach Dan McDonnell and the Cards have now won all 33 of their non-conference three-game series at Jim Patterson Stadium over the last 12 regular seasons.

The No. 16 Louisville Cardinals will be back in action on Wednesday afternoon, as they are set to host the Xavier Musketeers at 3:00 PM.

A recap of each of Louisville’s wins this weekend is provided below:

Friday, February 17 – Louisville 7, Bucknell 1

In the snowy home opener at Jim Patterson Stadium, the Cards earned their first victory of the season, defeating the Bison by a score of 7-1.

Senior Ryan Hawks was the starting pitcher for just the second time in his collegiate career and led Louisville to their fourth-straight win in a season opener. Hawks earned the win and gave up just one run, three hits, and one walk in 6.1 innings, while finishing with a career-high nine strikeouts.

Ryan McCoy led the way for the offense with a team-high three hits in his Cardinals debut, including a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning.

The Louisville baseball team jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third inning with a two-run home run from sophomore Isaac Humphrey and never looked back. The Cards went on to score two more runs in the inning after an RBI triple from Eddie King Jr. and then an RBI groundout from Brandon Anderson.

Junior Tyeler Hawkins capped the day off with his first career home run on a solo shot in the eighth inning.

Saturday, February 18 – Louisville 11, Bucknell 2

Dan McDonnell’s squad clinched the series win over Bucknell with an 11-2 victory on Saturday afternoon.

Louisville’s Riley Phillips received the starting nod, but was pulled after giving up three hits, four walks, and one earned run in 3.1 innings. However, the bullpen took over and kept the Bison in check, allowing just three hits and one run for the remainder of the game.

Louisville jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning on a bases-loaded walk by Eddie King Jr. Then, they went on to score seven runs combined in the third and fourth innings to take a commanding 8-1 lead over the Bison. The preseason favorites in the ACC added two more runs in the seventh inning and an unearned run in the eighth.

Christian Knapczyk reached base four times in five at-bats and finished the day with two hits, one walk, one hit-by-pitch, two stolen bases, and three runs scored.

Jack Payton hit the team’s fourth home run of the weekend on Saturday, while Ryan McCoy and Eddie King Jr. each added two RBIs to help the Cards earn their second win of the season.

Sunday, February 19 – Louisville 5, Bucknell 3

In the final game of the series, Louisville escaped with a 5-3 win on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep of Bucknell. After building a 4-1 lead in the first inning, the Cards’ offense only managed to score one run over the game’s final eight innings.

The Bison cut the lead to 4-3 in the top of the sixth inning, but an RBI single from Noah Smith in the bottom of the inning put Louisville back up by two runs.

After a hit-by-pitch and walk to begin the ninth inning, Bucknell had runners at first and second with no outs. However, a 4-6-3 double play and a strikeout in the next two at-bats allowed the Cards to get out of the jam and earn the win.

Louisville’s starting pitcher Carson Liggett had a solid outing, finishing with two earned runs, five hits, one walk, and six strikeouts in 5.0 innings. Reliever Greg Farone was impressive as well, giving up just one earned run and three hits in 3.0 innings and recorded eight strikeouts.

It was Ben Wiegman, though, who entered the game in the ninth and earned his first career save while putting an end to the Bison’s comeback hopes.

Outfielder Tyeler Hawkins led the team with two hits on the day, and five different Cardinals earned an RBI in the team’s third victory of the weekend.