Louisville sophomore pitcher Brendan McKay stole the show on Saturday, as the left hander tossed a three-hit shutout to hand Ole Miss its first defeat of the season by a score of 4-0, and evened the series at one game apiece.
“He was tremendous,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said of McKay. “There are days where the other pitcher is just so dominant, but we’ve gotta make him work harder. When they’re that dominant we’ve got to foul more balls off, do something to get him over 100 pitches and get him out of the game.”
McKay struck out eight and did not issue a walk in the win, and Ole Miss was not able to get a runner in scoring position for the entirety of the the game. He forced two double plays and and faced just one more batter than the minimum of 27.
“He just did a really good job of commanding the zone. He didn’t relent when he got down a pitch and was just able to consistently make pitches with all of his stuff,” junior catcher Henri Lartigue said of McKay.
Ole Miss got a great outing of its own from junior right-hander Chad Smith. He allowed three runs on six hits, and did not allow and earned run until the 8th inning.
“Really matched him pitch for pitch,” Bianco said of Smith. “It’ll get lost in the score, but he was every bit as good as McKay today.”
The game was scoreless until the sixth inning when Louisville was able to capitalize on two Ole Miss errors from Errol Robinson and and Will Golsan to plate one and take a 1-0 lead. The run ended five consectuive shutout innings from Smith.
“We hurt him with the errors and the unearned run,” Bianco said. “Maybe more so than the unearned run is how much he had to work to get out of the inning.”
Smith battled to overcome the errors and was able to escape the inning with just the one unearned run crossing home plate.
“I was able to throw the fastball on both sides of the plate. My slider was there and my change up was there at times,” Smith said. “I just tried to keep the hitters off balance as best I could.”
Smith posted a scoreless seventh inning before allowing a single and a double to start the eighth and resulted in Brady Feigl coming on to relieve smith.
Louisville was able to score the two runners Feigl inherited from Smith on a Danny Rosenbaum base hit and an RBI ground out from Blake Tiberi . Louisville would add one more to complete a three run inning and took a 4-0 lead.
McKay retired Ole Miss in order in the eighth and ninth to earn his second win of the season and tie the series at one. Louisville out hit Ole Miss 10-4 on the day.
“They did a good job of just moving the ball,” Bianco said. “They did a good job of not striking out and keeping pressure on us.”
The series will be decided in game three tomorrow at Swayze Field. First pitch is set for 1:30.