By Mike Gilpatrick–
Showing no offseason rust, sixth-ranked baseball defeated Alabama State 7-0 in their season opener. Junior Brendan McKay had nine strikeouts, four hits allowed and no runs earned in six innings.
The Cards got on the board in the second inning, when a single for senior Colin Lyman set up a RBI single for junior Drew Ellis down the right field line. In the third, McKay singled in junior Colby Fitch.
Alabama State’s best opportunity to score was in the fifth inning when Hunter Phillips singled with one out. Hunter Allen singled the next at bat, putting two on with one out. McKay struck out the next two batters.
During a big fifth inning, McKay led off and launched a bomb to right. Junior Devin Hairston singled up the middle, advanced to second on a throwing error, ran to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a sacrifice fly by freshman Tyler Fitzgerald.
Fitch homered to right in the sixth, scoring freshman Jake Snider. One batter later, Alabama State head coach Jose Vasquez went to the bullpen, ending starting pitcher Tyler Howe’s afternoon. Howe pitched 5.2 innings, giving up six runs, allowing three walks while striking out three Cards.
Louisville scored another in the seventh on a senior Logan Taylor’s single.
Sophomore closer Bryan Hoeing forced Alabama State’s Ray Hernandez into a 5-3 groundout to end the game. Louisville moves to 1-0, and will play Feb. 18 against No. 22 Maryland.