Just days after the freshmen class was challenged to become more consistent by head coach Dan McDonnell, a trio of first year Cardinals came up big in Louisville's 3-1 victory over Western Kentucky on Tuesday evening at Patterson Stadium.
Pitcher Josh Rogers (1-2) allowed just 1 run on 3 hits, while striking out 5 in seven innings of work, while Colin Lyman had a clutch hit and Logan Taylor drove in another on a squeeze play to highlight the Cardinals win.
"It was the night of the freshman," said McDonnell, who asked for more from the freshman class following the team's recent trip to Central Florida. "We got great production from those guys tonight."
Lyman had his number called with bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the fifth. With the game still scoreless, the native of Algonquin, Ill., came through with a single to left center, driving in Sutton Whiting and Grant Kay.
"It was a change up, outside," Lyman said. "I was looking fastball, but I saw it out of his hand luckily pretty well."
For Rogers, who has bounced back following a year off rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, it marked his first career victory in three starts.
"First collegiate career win, it's been a long road since surgery last year," Rogers said. "I've worked real hard to get back to where I am. I'm blessed and thankful for it and credit to the guys behind me today. They stuck with me and made a lot of good plays."
It wasn't just the newcomers that shined. Cole Sturgeon, who started in right field, stole a pair of bases and pitched a excellent inning of relief, including two strikeouts.
All-American closer Nick Burdi picked up his 9th save of the season, upping his school record career total to 25.
12th-ranked Louisville improved to 29-11 on the season. The Cardinals welcome Morehead State to Patterson Stadium on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. Admission is free.