By Dalton Ray–
Second-ranked baseball lays claim to their third Battle of the Barrel victory against No. 25 Vanderbilt. The Cardinals won 6-2 and received four RBIs from sophomore Josh Stowers.
“From here on out, we have to play,” coach Dan McDonnell said. “There’s no excuse — you can’t show up slow, you can’t fall behind and think you’re going to swing your way back into it. I thought our focus was great. I thought our energy was great.”
Runs wane after early innings
Stowers’ three-run homer with two outs gave Louisville a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Vandy responded with their next at-bat, recording two sac-flys to make the game 3-2.
Junior Devin Hairston started the bottom of the third inning with a double and a single from junior Colby Fitch drove Hairston home.
No McKay? No Ellis? No problem
Potential No. 1 overall pick Brendan McKay and junior Drew Ellis went a combined 0-for-8 with three strikeouts. This is the second time the pair went hitless in a game.
The Cardinals replaced the production of their studs by way of Hairston and Stowers. The No. 2 and No. 8 hitters combined 4-for-8 with four RBIs and two runs scored.
“We talk about depth throughout the lineup … it just takes some of the pressure off. In the postseason, somebody has to give you more production. It can’t just be McKay or Ellis,” McDonnell said.
Wolf, Elliott and Sparger close the door
Louisville led 4-2 in the fifth inning when sophomore Adam Wolf took the mound. Wolf struck out his first batter and lasted until the seventh inning.
Freshman Adam Elliot replaced Wolf and didn’t allow a hit in the seventh inning. Senior Jake Sparger stepped in the eighth and sealed the final four outs.
Vandy recorded three hits in the final four innings.
Photos by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal