After suffering a 2-1 loss to South Florida on Friday afternoon, the University of Louisville needed a victory on the third day of AAC Tournament pool play to keep the hope of playing for the league title alive.
Despite facing USF's best pitcher, the top-seed Cardinal bats were hot throughout, pounding out 13 hits in a 9-3 victory over 4th-seeded Rutgers.
"I'm really proud of our guys," U of L head coach Dan McDonnell said afterwards. "We played three games down here against three number one pitchers.
"We saw three legitimate number ones and we swung the bats well all three days."
Three first inning hits, including a triple by freshman Corey Ray, produced three runs to start the game. Rutgers plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame, but struggled to reach base safely for the remainder Anthony Kidston's presence on the mound.
The Cardinals added two more runs in the second inning. A double by Cole Sturgeon and a single by Nick Solak each drove in a run. Solak drive in another two runs in the fourth to give him a team-high 3 for the game.
Zach Lucas opened the sixth inning with a solo home run and Solak scored on a single by Alex Chittenden to give the Cardinals a 9-2 lead.
Kyle Gibson, Sturgeon, Solak, Ray and Lucas all had multi-hit outs. Lucas scored three times, with Sturgeon and Solak each reaching home twice.
Anthony Kidston (7-0) threw seven innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, while striking out seven.
"He was really good today," said McDonnell.
Louisville improved to 2-1 in pool play, but needed help to reach the AAC Championship. The Cardinals would need a victory by Memphis over USF to land a spot in the title.
The Tigers obliged, but they made the Cardinals sweat it out. Memphis received a two-out walk off RBI single to defeat the Bulls 2-1 on Saturday night.
Louisville will face Houston the inaugural AAC Baseball Championship on Sunday afternoon at noon. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.
The Cardinals swept the Cougars in Houston earlier in the season.