LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- In a matchup of 2014 College World Series qualifiers, No. 18 Louisville knocked off Ole Miss 5-3 in the first game of a midweek pair on Tuesday evening at Jim Patterson Stadium.
The Cardinals (11-5) garnered command early with runs in four of the first five innings of the game to defeat the Rebels (8-7) for the fourth time in their last six meetings. The teams will close the two-game series on Wednesday.
Sophomore catcher Will Smith led the way for Louisville going 2-for-3 with one RBI, a stolen base and scored once, while senior infielder Zach Lucas and freshman outfielder Ryan Summers added two hits each. Freshman Blake Tiberi chipped in with his third home run of the season, while freshman infielder Devin Hairston drove in two runs and sophomore outfielder Corey Ray added two hits and one RBI.
On the mound, freshman righty Lincoln Henzman struck out four in 1.2 innings of relief and allowed one run to earn the win and improve to 2-0 on the season. Freshman lefty Brendan McKay had two strikeouts in a scoreless ninth inning to lock down his fourth save of the season.
Louisville found the scoring column first on Tuesday with a run in the second inning against Ole Miss lefty starter Evan Anderson on a RBI groundout by Hairston to plate Smith. The inning started with an infield single by Smith, who moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a single by Summers. Anderson was charged with the loss for the Rebels and dropped to 1-2 on the season after allowing four runs on 10 hits in 4.2 innings.
The Cardinals pushed their lead to 2-0 in the third inning on a RBI single up the middle by Ray to score sophomore Nick Solak, who was hit by a pitch and stole second before scoring. The Rebels found the scoring column for the first time an inning later with unearned run in the third following an RBI single by shortstop Errol Robinson.
Louisville increased its lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth after Hairston's RBI single to left field scored Summers, who reached base earlier in the inning with his first career triple. The Rebels clawed back with a solo home run from outfielder Cameron Dishon to lead off the fifth.
The cushion for the Cardinals returned to two in the bottom of the fifth inning on a RBI single by Smith to score Lucas, who singled and took second on a wild pitch earlier in the frame. After the Rebels cut the advantage to one in the seventh on a bases-loaded RBI walk to third baseman Colby Bortles, Louisville plated the final run of the night in the eighth inning when Tiberi crushed the first offering from Scott Weathersby off the top of the right field foul pole for the leadoff homer.
Freshman righty Sean Leland set the tone for the Cardinals on the mound allowing just one earned run on three hits with four strikeouts in 4.1 solid innings in the start. Sophomore lefty Robert Strader added 1.2 innings of scoreless relief with a pair of strikeouts.