By Dalton Ray–
In front of their home crowd at Louisville Slugger Field, fifth-ranked U of L baseball downed Notre Dame (26-32) in the ACC tournament. Pulling a 10-3 victory, the Cardinals (47-9) used early fireworks and late daggers to end Notre Dame. U of L capitalized on ND’s errors, scoring seven runs after miscues by the Irish.
Early separation created in four-five spots
Juniors Brendan McKay and Drew Ellis wasted no time showing Notre Dame what they’re capable of, accounting for the first five runs in the second and third innings.
In the top of the second inning, Ellis took the first pitch he saw over the left field wall. In the third, a botched catch in foul territory kept the inning alive. McKay stepped to the plate with bases loaded and slugged a ball over the right field for a grand slam.
McKay started the game strong on both ends, but lulled in the middle innings. In the third inning, a walked batter and single set up Matt Vierling’s RBI double.
McKay got into an early jam in the fourth and fifth innings by letting two runners on base with an out. With bases loaded in the fourth, McKay battled back with a strikeout and ground to end the inning.
The Fighting Irish put runners on the in the fifth, and a wild pitch allowed a run to score – bringing Louisville’s lead to 5-3. Eric Feliz singled with two outs, but sophomore Josh Stowers gunned down Eric Gilgenbach at home to save the run and end the inning.
McKay earned his ninth win, going six innings with 119 pitches, eight strikeouts and three earned runs.
The Cardinals hit a dry spell, not scoring for three innings. A throwing error on a routine ground out to first put runners on second and third with two outs. Junior Devin Hairston lined a ball through the short stop and third baseman for the two-run RBI, making the lead 7-3.
With two runners on in the ninth inning, Stowers’ ground-rule double brought home senior Logan Taylor. Two sac-flies made the score 10-3.
Photo by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal