By Daniel Rankin —
On Feb. 21, the Louisville Cardinals Baseball team won their first home game of the season against Xavier University by a score of 7-6. Rebounding after two straight losses on their Florida trip, the Cards now move to a record of 2-2.
The win was sparked by a 7th inning rally where the Cards scored six runs after being down 4-1.
After a scoreless start, Xavier got on the board in the second after the wind carried a flyball over the fence.
That lead wouldn’t last long; however, as in the bottom of the inning, Junior Dalton Rushing tied the game, hitting a hanging 2-0 pitch over the left-field wall.
The Cardinals had the bases loaded in the third inning but could not capitalize.
Another home run in the 4th inning saw Xavier retake the lead 2-1.
The 7th inning ended up being the most important of the contest. Miscommunication in the outfield allowed Xavier to start the top of the inning with a leadoff double. A squeeze bunt gave Xavier two runners, and after a sacrifice, ground out and base hit allowed the lead to expand to 4-1.
Down three runs late, it seemed issues from the two losses were still lingering; however, Head Coach Dan Mcdonnell remained calm “It’s part of the process; sometimes you realize, they (the players) need to figure out and get it done, and we have good leaders on this team,” he said when referring to being down late.
Luckily, the Cards were indeed able to figure out and responded valiantly in the bottom of the 7th.
Sophomore Outfielder Isaac Humphrey started the rally with a single to right field.
After advancing to second on a groundball, Humphrey scored thanks to a single from Infielder Logan Beard.
Christian Knapczyk battled out a full-count walk, and Ben Metzinger did the same on four straight balls, leaving bases loaded for the second time in the game.
A sacrifice fly from JT Benson put the Cards within one until Rushing scored two on a double to take a 5-4 lead. Senior Cameron Masterman sealed off the six-run with a two-run homer to left-centerfield.
Xavier closed the gap in the 8th inning by putting up two runs to make the score 7-6.
However, Closer Michael Prosecky was able to get the final six outs and finish the game earning his second save the season.
Up next for the Cards is a three-game series against Dartmouth University, with the first game on Friday at 3 pm.
A reminder that for UofL Students, admission is free to all home games for UofL students with a valid student ID.
Photo by Daniel Rankin // The Louisville Cardinal