LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It was a slugfest between Xavier and No. 19 Louisville, but in the end XU prevailed 11-9 and tied a school record with its ninth consecutive win.
With the victory, the Musketeers improve to 12-6 on the season while the Cardinals dropped to 11-6.
Righty Tyler Koors earned the win to improve to 2-1 this season despite allowing seven runs on nine hits with four walks in 6.0 innings of work. Closer and infielder Seth Willoughby recorded the final two outs of the game to earn his fourth save of the season for the Musketeers. At the plate for the winners, right fielder Brian Bruening finished 3-for-5 with four RBI, while center fielder John McCambridge was 2-for-5 with three RBI.
For the third game in a row, the Cardinals faced an early deficit as Xavier scored four runs in the first inning and added three more in the third for a 7-0 advantage. Louisville broke through in the bottom of the third to cut the margin to 7-3 on an RBI single by freshman outfielder Adam Engel, an RBI groundball by junior second baseman Ryan Wright and an RBI double by Stewart Ijames.
After the Musketeers added a run in the fourth, the Cardinals answered with two runs in the sixth to cut the deficit to 8-5. The first run of the inning scored on an RBI single to center by Alex Chittenden, while the second was plated on an RBI single up the middle by Drew Haynes.
Xavier scored a run in the top of the seventh to push its lead to 9-5, but Louisville responded with a pair of runs to trim the margin to just two in the bottom of the inning. The inning started with a walk to Engel, who then moved to second with his third stolen base of the season, advanced to third on a single by Wright and then scored on a wild pitch by XU reliever Nathan Mutsch. Wright then scored on a second wild pitch by Mutsch to make the score 9-7 Xavier.
Following a scoreless eighth inning, Xavier added two important insurance runs in the top of the ninth on a two-out, RBI single up the middle by McCambridge for an 11-7 lead. The Cardinals answered back with two runs in the bottom of the inning on an RBI triple to left center by Ijames and an RBI sacrifice fly to center by Seiz, but Willoughby and Xavier held on for the win.
For the Cardinals, junior outfielder Ijames led the Cardinals with a 2-for-5, two-RBI performance, while Haynes, Chittenden and freshman first baseman Ryan Seiz added two hits and one RBI each in the loss. On the mound, sophomore righty Matt Koch suffered the loss to fall to 2-2 on the season after allowing six earned runs on seven hits and three walks in a season-low 3.0 innings pitched. The runs, hits and walks allowed by Koch were all career highs.