Cards open season with walk-off comeback

Jeff Gardner

Despite trailing 5-1 through four innings, the University of Louisville baseball team came out victorious in the season opener. A trio of home runs, including a 10th inning walk-off by Jeff Gardner fueled the Cardinals victory.

The University of Louisville baseball team had to fight back in its season opener against West Virginia on Friday afternoon. Playing in the opener of the Homewood Suites Invitational, the Cardinals trailed 5-1 through four innings before a 10th inning walk-off home run by senior Jeff Gardner capped the Cardinals 7-6 victory.

Louisville was able to overcome a difficult opening day start by Joe Filomeno, who gave up 5 runs on 7 hits in four innings of work. Facing the 2013 Big 12 Pitcher of the Year in Harrison Musgrave, the Cardinals needed a rotation or two through the lineup before finding their bats against the lefty.

A second inning home run by sophomore Danny Rosenbaum plated the first run of the afternoon, but the Cardinals were unable to create much at the plate until the fifth inning. Second baseman Zach Lucas reached on an error and scored on a single to right field by Kyle Gibson.

Following a lead off single by Cole Sturgeon, Grant Kay connected for his first home run as a Cardinal. The 2-run shot from the junior college All-American transfer pulled Louisville within 5-4 after six innings.

True freshman Jack Sparger pitched well in his first collegiate appearance. The 6-foot-5 high school Rawlings All-American allowed 1 run, an RBI single in the seventh, on 3 hits, with two strikeouts in 5 innings of work.

Trailing 6-4 with two out in the eight, and with Sturgeon at second following a single and stolen base, senior Jeff Gardner connected for a double down the right field line. Rosenbaum followed suit, driving in Gardner and tying the score with a shot also down the right field line.

All-American reliever Nick Burdi threw a shut out top of the 10th, setting up the walk off heroics.

Louisville will face host The Citadel at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

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