By Sam Draut–
Louisville baseball dropped two of three games last weekend against fifth-ranked Miami and then faced a tough turnaround with ninth-ranked Virginia this weekend at Jim Patterson Stadium. The Cardinals dropped their first game on Friday night to the Cavaliers 6-3, but bounced back in convincing fashion on the final two games of the weekend series. Scoring a combined 26 runs on Saturday and Sunday, Louisville improved to 19-5 overall and 6-3 in the ACC.
Big bats- the Cardinal offense exploded for 10 runs in the 5th inning of Louisville’s 15-0 win on Sunday. The 15 runs scored are the most for Louisville in a conference game since 2010, when the Cardinals scored 24 runs against Rutgers. Leadoff man Corey Ray had two hits and three RBI. On the season, Ray is hitting .434 with three home-runs and nine runs scored in the first inning. Catcher Will Smith had two hits and scored three runs while Danny Rosenbaum hit his third home-run of the season.
Shutdown Sunday- starting pitcher Drew Harrington salvaged Louisville’s series last week against Miami and the left-hander closed out Virginia on Sunday for the series win. Harrington picked up his fifth win of the year after pitching seven innings and holding Virginia to four hits and no runs. It was an efficient outing for the sophomore from Elizabethtown, Ky. Harrington threw 52 strikes on 75 pitches and lowered his ERA to 1.42.
In a funk– Louisville’s ace and Friday starter Kyle Funkhouser didn’t appear to have his best stuff against a tough Virginia lineup. The 6-foot-3 senior pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up seven hits and five earned runs on 98 pitches. He had four walks and five strikeouts. Funkhouser’s second loss of the season follows a tough start against a good Miami lineup last week when he gave up three runs and walked five batters in a no decision.
Hands– On a bunt attempt in the first inning of Friday night, Cardinal second baseman Nick Solak was hit in the hand, but played two innings in the field before being pinch-hit for by Devin Mann. The junior went to the hospital to receive X-rays on his right hand, the X-rays were negative and he is day-to-day. “I was sick to my stomach because he is such a tough kid,” McDonnell said. “He is our leader, he is such a gutsy player.” Solack did not play the final two games of the series, but Mann played well in his place. The freshman scored three runs and had three RBI.
What’s next- Louisville travels to Western Kentucky on Tuesday before playing a weekend series against Virginia Tech at Jim Patterson Stadium. Virginia Tech and Louisville play on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. and Monday at 7 p.m.