April 1, 2017
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Louisville hit three home runs, including Brendan McKay’s solo home run in the eighth inning that broke a 2-2 deadlock, as the No. 2 Cardinals topped No. 16 Virginia, 5-2, Friday evening in the opener of a three-game ACC series at Davenport Field. The game’s start was delayed over three hours by rain.
“We’re disappointed that we couldn’t shut them down in the eighth and ninth innings, and we certainly had opportunities offensively and couldn’t capitalize,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “Really the story of that game was they had a couple of their players really rise up in key situations and have big swings, and we didn’t. (Brendan) McKay is good, and we know that. I thought our guys battled him, and certainly we had our opportunities, but that’s why he’s tough — he buckles down and makes those big pitches with runners in scoring position.”
Making his first career ACC start, Noah Murdock (Fr., Colonial Heights, Va.) fired a career-high six innings, allowing two earned runs, four hits and four walks while striking out three. After giving up three hits over the first two-plus innings, Murdock settled in and allowed only one hit over his last four innings.
UVA reliever Chesdin Harrington (So., Montpelier, Va.) took the loss and fell to 1-1 on the year after allowing two runs in 2 2/3 innings of relief, marking the first runs he has allowed in 16 innings this season.
McKay was strong on the mound as well, pitching six innings in a no decision, allowing a run, six hits and two hits while striking out a pair. Reliever Adam Wolf (1-0) earned the win, while Lincoln Henzman worked the final 1 1/3 innings to claim his sixth save. Colby Fitch hit a pair of home runs and drove in three runs in the win for Louisville (23-2, 9-1 ACC).
Louisville grabbed a lead in the third inning on a solo home run to right field by Fitch, but UVA countered with a run in its half of the frame when Ernie Clement (Jr., Rochester, N.Y.) tripled past a diving Colin Lyman in right field and scored on the next pitch on a Jake McCarthy (So., Scranton, Pa.) groundout.
The Cardinals scored in the sixth, as Lyman tripled to center and came home on a Devin Mann sac fly.
UVA tied the game in the seventh inning on an Adam Haseley (Jr., Windermere, Fla.) groundout to bring home Eikhoff, but Louisville promptly responded in the eighth on a leadoff home run by McKay into the first row of bleachers in right field.
Virginia had a chance to score in the bottom of the inning. Cameron Simmons (So., Royersford, Pa.) drew a two-out walk. After UL went to Henzman, Charlie Cody (Jr., Chesapeake, Va.) lined a double into the left-field corner. Louisville perfectly executed to the relay home, and Simmons was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Fitch hit a two-out, two-run homer to right field off Bennett Sousa (Jr., North Palm Beach, Fla.) in the ninth inning to give Louisville some breathing room.
Game 2 is slated for 4 p.m. Saturday. Free parking for baseball fans will be available in Emmet-Ivy Garage, while reserved season ticket holder passes will be accepted in the Cage lot at University Hall. Please note there is a concert at John Paul Jones Arena Saturday evening and parking in the JPJ and University Hall lots will be reserved for concert parking.
Cavalier alum Javier Lopez is returning to Charlottesville Saturday, and UVA will honor the 14-year MLB veteran for his recent retirement in a pregame ceremony prior to the Saturday game. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 3:40 p.m. for the ceremony.