Ray matches a career high with four hits as No. 7 Louisville downs Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Five Cardinals finished with at least two hits as seventh-ranked Louisville pounded out an 11-4 series-clinching road victory against No. 9 Virginia on Sunday afternoon at Davenport Field.
Corey Ray was 4-for-5 with two doubles, two stolen bases, two runs scored and an RBI to pace the Cardinals (24-7, 13-1 ACC), who extended their conference win streak to 12 games.
Sutton Whiting finished 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored, while Zach Lucas was 2-for-5 with a home run as Louisville won its sixth consecutive game.
Colby Fitch chipped in with a pair of hits and two RBIs and Danny Rosenbaum added two hits, an RBI and scored once as Louisville out hit Virginia (19-11, 6-8 ACC) 14-5.
On the mound, freshman lefty starter Brendan McKay improved to 5-0 on the season after striking out six and allowing four runs on four hits in seven innings. Drew Harrington recorded the final six outs of the game for the Cardinals, who will attempt to complete the series sweep on Monday.
"We showed our toughness today and we have a lot of belief in our pitching staff, which allows our offense to relax," said Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell.
"We're getting quality starts on the mound, we're playing pretty good defense and right now, we're swinging the bats really well. But I also don't want to make too much of any of this right now. We can't get too high and we can't get too low because there's a lot of baseball left to play. We want to get better each day and play our best baseball as the season goes deeper."
For the second time in the series, the Cardinals scored first, plating a run in the opening inning on an RBI double off the left field wall by Ray. Solak scored on the double after singling to right earlier in the inning.
Louisville added to the lead in the fourth inning when Lucas and Rosenbaum scored on a double to left by Whiting. The inning started with a leadoff single through the left side by Lucas, while Rosenbaum reached on a fielding error by Virginia's Ernie Clement.
After Mike White was hit to load the bases, a flare to left off the bat of Whiting settled between Virginia outfielder Pavin Smith and shortstop Daniel Pinero, pushing across two for the 3-0 lead.
An inning later, the Cardinals scored their fourth run of the afternoon on a two-out RBI single to left by Fitch. Ray led off the inning with a single to right, moved to second with a stolen and advanced to third on a deep fly ball to center before scoring.
After five no-hit innings from McKay, the Cavaliers connected for their first hit of the game on a one-out single by Christian Lowry to start a four-run sixth inning. After a pair of walks loaded the bases for Virginia, Kenny Towns connected on a bases-clearing triple to left center that landed just out of the reach of White, who ranged a long distance from his center field position. Smith followed with an RBI single to left field to score Towns and even the score at 4-4.
Louisville answered in the seventh inning when Lucas powered a 0-1 offering from Cavaliers lefty Kevin Doherty out of the ballpark and over the bleachers in left center for his third home run of the season. The homer not only pushed the Cardinals back ahead, but it also brought the momentum back their way as they added five more runs in the eighth to lock the game away.
The scoring in the eighth started with an RBI double to right by Whiting to plate Ryan Summers, who was hit by a pitch to start the inning. After moving to third on a wild pitch, Whiting scored the second run on an RBI sacrifice fly to center by Solak.
Ray continued the inning with a double to left center, stole third and then scored on a fielding error by Pinero. Fitch and Rosenbaum added RBI singles to close the inning. Louisville added its final run of the day in the ninth inning on a sac fly by freshman Blake Tiberi.
Doherty took the loss for Virginia and dropped to 1-1 on the season after allowing three runs on two hits in 1.1 innings of relief. He followed starter Connor Jones, who finished with the no-decision after giving up four runs, just two earned, on nine hits in six innings.