By Sam Draut–
The vaunted Louisville lineup scored ten runs in the first three innings of game four in the NCAA Louisville Regional as the second-ranked Cardinals defeated Ohio State 15-3. Brendan McKay pitched 5 and 2/3 innings, allowing three hits and no runs while striking out 10 hitters to pick up his 12th win of the year. Louisville (49-12) will face the winner of Ohio State and Wright State at 4 p.m. tomorrow at Jim Patterson Stadium with a shot to advance to an NCAA Super Regional.
Two-way start- The first inning couldn’t have gone much better for Brendan McKay. The sophomore starting pitcher struck out the side in order in the top half of the first. In the bottom half, after Nick Solak drew a two-out walk, McKay drilled a two-run home run to right centerfield to give Louisville a 2-0 lead.
Big inning- Will Smith led off the inning with a base on balls and Nick Solak followed with a single to left. McKay picked up his third RBI with a single to right field that scored Smith to give Louisville a 3-0 lead. The Cardinals picked up their fourth run on a double to the right center field wall by Devin Hairston that scored Solak. A few pitches later McKay scored on a passed ball.
Blake Tiberi hit a double down the right field line to score Hairston. Danny Rosenbaum highlighted the big inning with a two-run home run to deep left centerfield that gave Louisville an 8-0 lead.
The inning continued when Corey Ray drove in Logan Taylor with a single. Ray stole second and third on consecutive pitches and Smith drove the junior speedster in with a single up the middle to give Louisville a 10-0 lead.
“We got off to a great start,” head coach Dan McDonnell said. “You could see how relaxed our offense was.”
Rain delays– A 10-minute rain delay halted Louisville’s eight-run third inning rally, but the stoppage in play may have had its biggest effect on the next half inning. McKay worked into trouble in the top half of the fourth inning after Troy Kuhn reached base on an error by Solak and the sophomore pitcher walked two batters to load the bases. McKay struck out Brady Cherry to end the threat and escape the jam.
“It’s a little tough trying to get back into the zone,” McKay said.
With two outs in the top of the sixth inning, the game was delayed for 51 minutes. The stoppage in play effectively ended McKay’s outing and Shane Hummel replaced him after the break. Hummel closed out the final 3 and 1/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) and three hits.
Rosenbombs– After blasting a two-run home run in the third inning, Rosenbaum send another two-run shot over the left center field wall to extend Louisville’s lead to 12-0 in the fifth inning. The homerun was the senior’s 10th round-tripper of the season.
“It’s important to simplify everything,” Rosenbaum said.
McDonnell said players call Rosenbaum “Mr. June” after playing well in last year’s NCAA tournament.
Photos by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal