Freshman Danny Rosenbaum had been struggling at the plate.
The first baseman from Lafayette Hill, Pa., only had six hits since March 22 but came through in the clutch for the University of Louisville baseball team on Wednesday night before 3,530 fans at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Rosenbaum scored the game-tying run in the seventh inning and had the game-winning RBI with one out in the bottom of the ninth on a sacrifice fly to right field, plating Cole Sturgeon for a 4-3 victory.
”Coach (Dan McDonnell) came up to me when I was on-deck and said relax,” Rosenbaum said. “He told me to put it out there between Dominguez and Johnson (the photos on the wall in right center field).
”I just had to put the ball in play. I got a good pitch to hit and hit it deep enough to score them. I was just trying to be as relaxed as possible as I could be.”
Rosenbaum did his job, missing the area McDonnell wanted him to hit it to by about 10 feet, and gave the Cardinals a come-from-behind win.
U of L trailed 3-1 heading in the seventh but rallied for a ninth straight victory and a huge win against top-15 teams. U of L is ranked No. 10 nationally, while Indiana was ranked No. 14 and had an RPI ranking of No. 13. The Hoosiers had beaten U of L in the first two meetings of the season.
”I have a lot of respect for Indiana,” McDonnell said. “That’s a very good team and I think we’ll see them somewhere during the postseason.”
After falling behind 3-1, U of L used seven pitchers in the game and reliever Cody Ege pitched a perfect three innings with six strikeouts.
The Cardinals picked up two runs in the seventh to tie the score at 3-3 when Kyle Gibson reached on a single to left center. Rosenbaum then reached on an error before Sutton Whiting plated both with a double to right field.
”We showed a lot of toughness,” McDonnell said. “Against Vandy, we got down and we didn’t come back. We didn’t fold the tents tonight.”
Sturgeon, the regular right fielder, came in for an inning and two thirds on the mound and Nick Burdi then picked up the final out of the ninth inning.
And it was Sturgeon who led off the ninth with a double. Gibson bunted him over to third and Rosenbaum took care of the rest.
”I challenged them a few weeks ago that we needed to show mental toughness,” McDonnell said. “It looked like we might cave tonight but we didn’t do that. We flipped the switch and seventh, eighth and ninth played good baseball. Any time you beat a top 20 opponent, you would think it’s a confidence booster.”
Burdi picked up the win and is now 3-2 on the season.