No. 4 Louisville received a career-best outing on the mound from junior Brendan McKay to lead the Cardinals to a 3-0 win over visiting Pittsburgh on Friday afternoon.
McKay, the preseason National Player of the Year, recorded a career-high 15 strikeouts, besting his prior mark of 13, in seven innings of work. He allowed just two hits and surrendered just one walk to notch his third victory of the season. He struck out seven of the nine players in the Panthers lineup, including setting down a pair three times.
"You kind of get in that zone where you aren't worried about what's going on," said McKay.
Following two seasons that saw the Darlington, Penn., be selected as the John Olerud National Two-Way Player of the Year, McKay's impressive outing almost feels like another day at the park. Cardinals skipper Dan McDonnell admits that he has to remind himself of just how special McKay's performance continues to be.
"I try not to take it for granted," said McDonnell. "I've been enjoying it now for three years, so you want to remind yourself that this is the last year you have him because of how things are going. You just try not to take it for granted."
Junior Lincoln Henzman completed the game, striking out three in two hitless innings of work to collect his second save of the season.
Offensively, the Cardinals out-hit Pittsburgh 10 to 2, marking the 12th time in 13 outings that the team has enjoyed a double-digit hit effort. Devin Mann, Drew Ellis and Colin Lyman led the way with each registering a pair of hits. Ellis drove in his team-leading 18th RBI, with Lyman driving in his seventh of the season. McKay drove in the game's first run on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first.
The victory lifts to Louisville to 13-0 on the season, which equals the 2010 team for the best start during the Dan McDonnell era and moves it within four wins of tying the school's best-ever start of 17-0 in 1958.
The win is also the first of a difficult ACC schedule that will make up the bulk of the remaining schedule. As back-to-back ACC regular season champions, the Cardinals will remain steadfast in their one game at a time approach during the 30-game league slate.
"We talk about 30 individual contests and we just won one of them, so it's a good start," McDonnell said. "We get to play the next one tomorrow, so as we like to say in our program, turn the page and be ready to compete tomorrow."
The Cardinals and Panthers will meet on Saturday and Sunday with first pitch set for 1pm.