Five of the eight runs scored on Sunday came in a wild first inning, fortunately four of them were in the bottom half of the inning by the Cards. Louisville (3-0) ultimately found themselves victorious for the third time in as many days, taking game three, 5-3, in front of 2,185 fans.
Speaking to Sean Moth after the game, Coach McDonnell applauded the fans for showing out in a mid-February game.
Ryan McCoy, Patrick Forbes, Haven Mangrum, and Tyeler Hawkins all recorded RBI singles in the first inning, giving the pitching staff a level of comfortability early on. The fifth and final run for the Cards came in the 6th inning, when Noah Smith hit a ball through the right side, scoring Eddie King Jr.
Once King Jr. scored, the bases were full of Cardinals with no outs and a huge opportunity to extend the lead. Christian Knapczyk hit a ground ball to first base and Bucknell gunned down the runner at the plate.
Isaac Humphrey followed Knapczyk and hit a line drive, just right at the first basemen who touched first base for a double play to end the threat. Solid contact, bad luck.
The three pitchers were able to keep the Bison on their toes all afternoon, striking out 15 batters. Carson Liggett (W, 1-0) tallied a career high, six strike outs in five innings of work.
Greg Farone, the JUCO transfer and strike out machine from Herkimer College, did not skip a beat from D3 ball that he was playing last season. Farone kept Bucknell guessing for three innings, striking out eight batters in his Louisville debut.
He allowed one home run and three walks, but answered any questions people may have about him making the jump from JUCO to P5. Farone’s pitch count got up to 71, showing he has the stamina to step into the rotation in a starter role. Plus, he’s got the stuff to do it.
Ben Wiegman (S, 1) picked up the save, tossing the final inning of the game, striking out one batter in the 9th inning.
It was another game of firsts this weekend, with Forbes making his first career start and Farone making his first career appearance for Louisville. When Bucknell put pressure on Louisville Sunday afternoon, the younger guys found a way to get it done and did not fold. We will have more answers in a few weeks after the Shriners Children’s College Classic, but this roster does not seem like they are going to back down.
The Cards will take on Xavier Wednesday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium. First pitch is slated for 3:00 PM and will be televised on ACC Network Extra and 970 AM. The pitching matchup has not been announced but I would expect Kade Grundy or Justin West to take the mound for the Cards.