Brendan McKay was named the best two-way player in the country as a freshman and in the first inning of an NCAA Tournament game on Saturday might have ensure he wins the award again.
The sophomore left-hander struck out the side in the top of the first inning against Ohio State and then smashed a two-run home run to right field to start the Cardinals' 15-3 romp over the Buckeyes in the NCAA Tournament Louisville Regional at Jim Patterson Stadium.
McKay was being modest when asked if that was his best first inning ever, noting he "just wanted to help the team get off to a good start," while teammate Danny Rosenbaum was next to him shaking his head.
"There's not a lot of guys that can do that," U of L coach Dan McDonnell said of McKay. "It was good to see for us. We got a quality start and I just felt like Brendan was really dialed in."
McKay finished the night 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored, and threw 5.2 innings of three-hit, shutout ball to give the Cardinals an 11th straight victory in NCAA Regional action. The Cardinals are 12-0 all-time in the first two days of regional action at home.
McKay finished with 10 strikeouts, which ties the school record for strikeouts in an NCAA game, and walked three. He came out of the game after a 51-minute rain delay, throwing 93 pitches in the game.
"I'm sure he could have gone a little longer," McDonnell said.
The victory gives McKay a 16-0 record with four saves in 21 career appearances at home and makes him 15-0 with a 1.34 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 107 innings of his 16 starts at home.
McKay was the star but not the only one for the Cardinals, who had 10 extra base hits and a total of 19 hits.
Will Smith had two hits and two RBIs, Nick Solak had two hits and a pair of RBIs, while Logan Taylor and Devin Hairston had three hits apiece and Danny Rosenbaum had two home runs with four RBIs.