Dan McDonnell improved to 13-4 in season openers during his time at Louisville as the Cards proved to be too much for Bucknell on opening day. In the first meeting between the two programs, Louisville overpowered the Bison by a final score of 7-1.
In between snowflakes throughout the afternoon, Ryan Hawks was dominant on the mound in his first Friday night start. Hawks twirled 6.1 strong innings of three hit baseball, striking out nine batters, allowing just one walk, and one run. He walked the first batter of the game and did not surrender another free pass for the duration of his outing.
This was the longest opening day start for a Louisville pitcher since 2015, when Kyle Funkhouser went seven innings against Alabama State.
Hawks turned things over to Evan Webster who tossed the next 1.2 innings, striking out all three batters he faced in the 7th inning. Alex Galvan closed the door in the 9th inning, striking out two more.
At the dish, the Cards displayed power, speed, and sprinkled in some small ball to manufacture runs in true Coach McDonnell fashion.
To get the party started, Isaac Humphrey blasted a no doubter over the right field wall to give Louisville a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Bat flip engaged.
Later in the inning, Eddie King Jr. hit a ball in the left-center gap, scoring Ryan McCoy, who singled earlier in the inning.
The Bison scored a run in the top of the 7th, narrowing the lead to 4-1. It was all Louisville from that point forward. McCoy, in his first game for the Cards, hit a ball into incoming traffic on the train tracks and increased the Louisville lead to 6-1. This ball was absolutely crushed, traveling 427 feet and was 106 MPH off the bat.
The power surge wasn’t over as Tyeler Hawkins, who pinch hit for Will Cook in the bottom of the 8th inning, delivered a ball into the berm against the wind that was blowing in from left field. This was Hawkins first career home run.
Home run power was one of the biggest question marks of this lineup entering the season. We are only one game in, but you have to feel good about the power that was displayed early on.
Christian Knapczyk (2), McCoy (3), and King (2) led the way for Louisville with multiple hits, while McCoy and Humphrey both chipped in with two RBI apiece.
The Cards and Bison will do it again tomorrow at 1:00 PM. Riley Phillips (5-1, 4.34 ERA) is expected to start for Louisville while Chris DiFiore (0-0, 4.50 ERA) will take the mound for Bucknell.
The game will be televised on the ACC Network Extra and 970 AM.