U of L baseball scores major road win

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Louisville baseball team scored a major victory on Tuesday night, taking out host Vanderbilt 11-7 in a matchup of top 10 teams. The Cardinals have now won 11 consecutive games.

Just a few weeks ago, the University of Louisville baseball team appeared to be a long shot to host an NCAA Regional.

The Cardinals were in the middle of a three-game losing streak, fell behind in the American Athletic Conference race and saw their RPI dip into the mid-40s.

Oh, how things can change.

Now, three weeks and 11 consecutive victories later the Cardinals are one of the hottest teams in the country. U of L has the third longest winning streak in the country after taking out host Vanderbilt 11-7 in a battle of top 10 teams in the polls on Tuesday night.

"All of these games are resume builders," U of L coach Dan McDonnell said. "So, yes that's a big win but as I told the guys, 'Friday's first game at Temple is just as big.' We need to continue to play the type of baseball we are playing."

If the Cardinals keep winning, it could be the type of baseball that allows the team to be a regional host site for the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Tournament has 16 regional host sites with those winners advancing into eight Super Regional sites before the College World Series.

U of L has hosted a regional three times in the first seven years under McDonnell. The Cardinals are trending towards becoming a host site again this season. The win over Vandy pushed U of L into the No. 11 spot in the RPI rankings and the Cardinals are ranked as high as No. 5 in the human polls.

One of the sports leading websites - PerfectGame.Org - tabbed the Cardinals as the "team of the day" after the win against Vandy.

U of L trails only TCU and Kennesaw State (12) for the longest active winning streak in the country and has the third most wins this season of any team in the nation with 38.

"We're not worried about all of that," third baseman Alex Chittenden said. "We're just focused on the next game and getting that one."

But McDonnell said it was "no doubt" a huge win over the Commodores, who lead the series 22-7. The Cardinals also took two from Vandy last season in the Super Regional in Nashville.

In this one it was the offense. Jeff Gardner and Chittenden drove in three runs apiece and Cole Sturgeon had three doubles and scored four runs for the Cardinals.

U of L had 11 hits and scored in four innings and had hits from seven guys.

"It shows our balance," McDonnell said. "We can win a 1-0, 2-1 type of game with our pitching and defense but we can also win games with offense and we are not one dimensional.

"We're not one guy, we have depth and balance and I really like our depth and balance."

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