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Louisville Baseball Recap: Charleston Challenge

U of L comes out with a 3-0 record to start 2018.

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NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Florida vs Louisville Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

The 13th-ranked Cardinals began their season this weekend, delivering a 3-0 sweep in the Charleston Crab House Challenge. It’s the sixth time in school history that Louisville opened with a 3-0 mark on the road, per stat guru Kelly Dickey.

Game Results

Friday: U of L started with a 4-0 lead, and looked to open the season with a shutout victory. But after Richmond scored three runs in the ninth, Sam Bordner retired the final batter to give Louisville a 4-3 win over the Spiders.

Devin Mann led the way with a 3-for-4 showing at the plate, delivering three RBIs and a home run in the sixth inning. The junior also had a pair of RBI singles in the first and eighth innings.

Ethan Stringer also went 2-for-2 in his debut, including a solo home run in the second inning.

Adam Wolf opened the weekend with his first Friday start this season. He made the most of it, pitching five shutout innings and striking out seven batters in the process.

After Wolf and Bryan Hoeing (3.0 IP, one strikeout, two hits and earned runs each) pitched a combined shutout in the first eight innings, the Spiders would mount a comeback. Hoeing allowed two singles, before grad transfer Austin Conway made his Louisville debut at the mound. After a bases-loaded walk got the Spiders on the board, D.J. Lee added two more runs on his RBI single. Sam Bordner would then come in to save the Cardinals, retiring Daniel Brumbaugh on the final at-bat.

With the save, Bordner has not allowed a run in 23 of his last 24 appearances.

Saturday: There were no dramatics needed in this one, as Louisville secured an 8-3 victory over tournament host The Citadel in eight completed innings. This was Dan McDonnell’s first win against his alma mater, after coming up short twice in Louisville’s previous trips to Charleston.

Louisville marched to a 4-0 lead after five innings, led by two RBI hits from Logan Wyatt. Wyatt opened the first with an RBI single to right field, and later added an RBI double in the fifth. In between, Pat Rumoro and Jake Snider both added RBI singles in the second and fourth innings, respectively.

Louisville added three runs in the sixth, led by Snider and Wyatt again. Snider forced a bases-loaded walk to add one run, while Devin Mann’s sac fly and a throwing error by The Citadel put two more on the board. Wyatt would add a bases-loaded walk of his own, finishing 2-for-3 with a double, three RBIs and two walks. Snider (1-for-2, two RBIs, two walks, two runs) and Tyler Fitzgerald (2-for-4, double) also led the way for Louisville at the plate.

Riley Thompson made his first career start for Louisville, pitching 4.2 innings with four strikeouts and one run allowed on four hits. Nick Bennett (2.1 IP, two K’s, one walk, two hits and runs allowed each), who spent most of 2017 as Louisville’s Sunday starter, earned the win out of the bullpen. Shay Smiddy closed the game with a shutout eighth inning.

Louisville would have added two more runs in the top of the ninth, but the game was called after eight completed innings due to foggy conditions.

Sunday: It was a rocky start to the game for the Cardinals, after George Mason opened the first inning with a 6-0 lead.

Even after spotting the Patriots a six-run lead after the first, U of L responded with explosive offense. They would finish with a 15-2 run, including eight in the final three innings, to close the weekend with a 15-8 win over George Mason. The win marked the largest comeback for Louisville since February 2015.

In his first appearance for Louisville, JUCO transfer Liam Jenkins had a rocky start to his career. Jenkins allowed six runs in the first inning, including three on a home run by Scott Morgan.

After that, Louisville’s offense had a tremendous response. They would immediately close the gap with a five-run second inning, starting with an RBI double from Justin Lavey (2-5, two RBI, double) and a two-RBI triple from Drew Campbell (2-3, double, triple, three RBI, four runs, one walk). Tyler Fitzgerald’s RBI sac fly and Jake Snider’s RBI single would close the second inning, putting Louisville back in the game.

George Mason answered with an RBI single from Logan Driscoll (4-5, two runs, RBI, double), but Louisville finished with a 10-1 run afterwards. Devin Mann added an RBI single in the fourth, while Josh Stowers tied the game with one of his own in the sixth. Mann would score the go-ahead run in the seventh for Louisville, after George Mason committed a pair of fielding errors.

Louisville had seven batters contribute with RBIs in the game. After Mann’s go-ahead run, they got an RBI groundout from Lavey, with RBI hits from Drew Campbell and Tyler Fitzgerald closing the inning. Zach Britton and Devin Mann added a pair of runs on RBI hits in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively.

While Louisville’s offense was clicking, their bullpen staved off the Patriots enough to complete the comeback. Louisville got quality appearances from freshmen Reid Detmers (3.0 IP, seven strikeouts, four walks, one hit and earned run) and Bobby Miller (3.0 IP, five strikeouts, one hit), the latter whom earned the win after Louisville took the lead. Rabon Martin (1.1 IP, three strikeouts, three hits) also made an appearance before Detmers and Miller, while Michael Kirian (1.0 IP, two K’s, two walks, one hit and earned run each) closed the game for Louisville.

Weekend MVP: Devin Mann (.556 batting, four runs, seven RBIs, four walks, HR)

Up Next: Louisville will have its home opener on Wednesday against Eastern Kentucky at 3 p.m. 93.9 The Ville and ESPN3 will have coverage of the game. Single-game tickets are available starting at $5 on