No. 2 Louisville defeats No. 21 Ole Miss 4-0 to even the series
Louisville’s starting pitcher Brendan McKay appeared comfortable on the mound against Ole Miss on Saturday afternoon at Swayze, and the Cardinals relied on their lefty to lead them to victory.
McKay struck out eight Rebels (5-1) and allowed only three hits–on 93 pitches–in the 4-0 victory over No. 21 Ole Miss. The win tied the series 1-1. Heading into the sixth inning, both teams were scoreless – four hits apiece – until second baseman Nick Solak nailed an unearned score off Danny Rosenbaum’s ground out to Errol Robinson.
For the first time this season, a pitcher for the Rebels pitched past the fifth inning. RHP Chad Smith stayed on the mound all the way to the seventh inning and looked very impressive before Louisville’s surge at the top of the eighth.
Solak scored off of Rosenbaum’s single to center field, and then McKay notched an unearned score and Rosenbaum advanced to second after Blake Tiberi grounded out to Tate Blackman.
The Cardinals’ (5-1) final score came when Colby Fitch singled up the middle, which allowed Rosenbaum to settle in at home base.Second-ranked Louisville had 10 hits and no errors.
Chad Smith goes seven innings
Despite the outcome, Smith, a 6-foot-4 transfer from Wallace State Community College, made some big strides.
“I felt good on the mound today, which was good,” said Smith, who threw 93 pitches in the first seven innings. “And I’m just really trying to compete.” Smith threw 7.0 innings in his second career start as a Rebels, allowing just three runs (two of which were earned).
When head coach Mike Bianco decided to rest his RHP for the remainder of the game, he put in redshirt-freshman RHP Brady Feigl who pitched for one inning–giving up one run (earned) in his outing. True freshman Danny Woolfolk followed Feigl.
Freshman pitching for the Rebels
Bianco knows how tough it is for a freshman pitcher to play in that type of situation; however, the Rebels’ coach thinks it will help the youngsters as the season progresses. Woolfolk entered the game with a pair of Cardinals in scoring position and no outs. However, the freshman was able to get of the jam without allowing a run to cross the plate.
“It’s about growing up,” Bianco said about Woolfolk’s performance. “It’s a true freshman going out there in a tight situation. He gets a ground ball to Tate, then intentionally walks a guy, then he gets a big strikeout. Not a lot of freshmen can do that.”
Offensive woes and fielding errors
But the Rebels struggled offensively in the loss, hitting .107 and going 0-for-4 on advancement opportunities. They were also 0-for-3 on pinch hitting and finished with no runners advanced.
In addition to their hitting woes, the Rebels also suffered from fielding errors–committing three in the loss.
Bianco: ‘We have to continue to fight and compete’
“We have to continue to fight and compete,” Bianco said after the game. “There are days where the other pitchers are so dominant. But we have to make them work harder, and when they are that dominant, we’ve got to foul some more balls off. We’ve got to do something to get them over 100 pitches and out of the game.”
The Rebels can take the series from the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is at 1:30 p.m. CT.
(Feature image credit: Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)
Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men’s basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with Rivals.com. A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.