Sophomore Josh Stowers drove in a career-high tying four runs to lead No. 2 Louisville to a 6-2 win over No. 25 Vanderbilt in front of 4,120 at Jim Patterson Stadium on Tuesday night.
A second inning, two-out rally set the stage for Stowers first big hit of the game. Devin Mann doubled down the left field line and Colin Lyman drew a walk as Stowers came to the plate and connected on a 1-1 pitch for a three-run home run over the left field wall.
"I felt really good in (batting practice)," he said. "Throughout today's game, even with the two infield popups that I had, I just felt really confident at the plate and I was able to drive the home run."
The Commodores quickly responded in the third inning. Following a pair of lead-off singles, two sacrifice flies closed the gap to 3-2 heading into the bottom half of the inning.
Louisville grabbed a run back in the third following a lead-off double by Devin Hairston, who later scored on a two-out single by Colby Fitch.
The Cardinals added two additional runs in the sixth inning after Mann reached on a throwing error and a bunt single by Lymon put two on with no out. Stowers then hit single to right to drive in Mann for his fourth RBI of the evening. An RBI groundout by Logan Taylor move the Cardinals ahead 6-2.
The game also featured a number of impressive defensive plays, highlighted by a diving catch by leftfielder Colin Lyman that thwarted any chance of a Vanderbilt comeback.
"We made four outstanding plays," U of L head coach Dan McDonnell said. "Lyman's catch was unbelievable, but McKay's play, Hairston's play, Ellis' play. Great defense tonight and that kept them from putting together some rallies."
Rabon Martin started the game for the Cardinals and collected his fourth win of the season after allowing two runs on three hits in four innings of work.
Winners of 12 straight games, Louisville, which improved to 43-6 overall, has now won five of the last seven meetings against rival Vanderbilt and retains possession of the trophy barrel.
The victory also marks the first of an eight game stretch that features four teams that are all rated in the top 28 of the latest RPI.
"I typically don't talk about the number of games left or future opponents," U of L head coach Dan McDonnell said. "I just felt like this was an opportune time. They look at the schedule and they know what's ahead, and I just felt like this was the time to say that, 'guys, you've got eight regular season games left and these teams are all playing in the NCAA's. It leads into the ACC Tournament and it leads into the post-season, so the reality from here on out, we have to play'."
Up next for Louisville is a weekend trip to No. 11 Clemson for a key three-game ACC series.