After Louisville and Notre Dame combined for 27 runs and 27 hits on Friday night, the game on Saturday could not have been anymore opposite, but the result was the same. The Cards started off conference play with a series win against the #6 team in the country, winning game two 8-1.
I have received a few comments regarding Notre Dame’s ranking, so to clarify, I will always use the D1 Baseball rankings. Always have, always will. I think Kendall Rogers and the guys at D1 are very consistent and they get it right more often than not.
College Baseball has six major polls and they are all over the place, especially at this point of the season. This week, D1 had Notre Dame ranked #6, but Perfect Game has them ranked #1, although not much longer.
Heading into the bottom of the 7th inning today, neither team had a runner cross the plate until Christian Knapczyk scored on a wild pitch. The lead would not last long as Jack Brannigan hit a solo shot to center field to start off the top of the 8th.
The Irish continued to battle, loading the bases with one out. Carter Putz, Notre Dame’s cleanup hitter, hit a bullet down the third base line that looked like it would score at least two runs. Ben Metzinger had different plans, making a diving play, touching third, and throwing Putz out at first to stop the threat.
Zing doin' his thing.#GoCards | @benmetzinger2 pic.twitter.com/eSdv3PLajk— Louisville Baseball (@LouisvilleBSB) March 20, 2022
In the bottom of the 8th, the bats came alive. The Cards were able to manufacture a run to take back the lead, then Ben Bianco made his presence known. After going hitless in his previous 11 at bats, Bianco stepped in the box with an 0-2 count and the bases loaded.
He belted a grand slam into the berm to give Louisville a commanding 6-1 lead. Listen to Sean Moth help us relive the moment.
That'll do, Bonco. That'll do.#GoCards | @BenBianco13 pic.twitter.com/ydW1DUTObw— Louisville Baseball (@LouisvilleBSB) March 19, 2022
It still wasn’t over. A few batters later, with Knapczyk on first, Metzinger gave another fan a souvenir with a two-run shot to left-center field.
B8 | BEN METZINGER TO THE BERM!!!— Louisville Baseball (@LouisvilleBSB) March 19, 2022
https://t.co/SVViDdodKd#GoCards | @benmetzinger2 pic.twitter.com/TcbNzec9JL
On the mound, Jared Poland tossed one of the best outings of his career. Poland threw 7 innings, giving up just 5 hits, striking out a career high, 10 batters. Ben Wiegman got in trouble in the 8th inning, but Evan Webster (W, 2-0) came in to get the final five outs to secure the series victory.
Louisville looks to go for the series sweep tomorrow at 1:00 PM. Riley Phillips (2-0, 2.37 ERA) will take the mound for the Cards and will face Austin Temple (2-0, 1.70 ERA). Temple transferred to Notre Dame as a graduate student after a successful career at Jacksonville. His junior year, he was 31st in the nation with a 0.71 ERA.