Feb. 16, 2013
DUNEDIN, Fla. - The fourth-ranked Louisville baseball team suffered a 2-0 loss to Indiana on day one of the season-opening BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge on Friday night at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
The Cardinals dropped their season-opener for the second straight season while being shutout for the first time since a 1-0 loss at Seton Hall on May 6, 2011. The loss also halted Louisville's three-game winning streak against the Hoosiers.
"We missed on some scoring chances early in the game and that gave them life," said Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell. "They gained some momentum and you could see it, they played with a lot of passion because we didn't' do anything in the first half of the game. In the second half of the game, you have to credit them because they made some great plays. We had some really good at-bats in the second half of the game, but it was very disappointing the way we played in those first four innings. We couldn't get a two-out hit and we had too many holes in the lineup."
The Cardinals left six runners on base in the first four innings of the game against IU lefty starter Joey DeNato, while freshman righty Evan Bell followed out of the Hoosiers' bullpen with four innings of two-hit shutout baseball to earn his first career win in the first collegiate appearance. Righty Ryan Halstead closed out the night with a scoreless ninth inning for the save.
After three scoreless innings to open the night, Indiana struck for a run in the fourth when designated hitter Scott Donley connected for a one-out RBI single to right field off Louisville junior righty starter Chad Green (Effingham, Ill./Effingham HS) to plate third baseman Dustin DeMuth for the 1-0 lead. An inning later, the Hoosiers made it 2-0 when senior shortstop Michael Basil was hit by a pitch from junior righty reliever Dace Kime (Defiance, Ohio/Defiance HS) with the bases loaded to score leftfielder Chris Sujka.
Green took the loss after being charged with two earned runs on seven hits in 4.0+ innings. After junior lefty Cody Ege
(Cherokee, Iowa/Washington HS) retired the only batter he faced with a strikeout of IU catcher Kyle Schwarber, Kime was not charged with a run scored as he allowed just two hits in 3.1 innings of relief. Sophomore lefty Kyle McGrath
(Louisville, Ky./Eastern Kentucky) made his Louisville debut with 1.1 innings of shutout relief.
"We pitched well and we defended well," McDonnell said. "You expect the offense to score, but it's just one game. We feel like we're going to be a very offensive-minded club so you don't want to panic."
At the plate, no Louisville player had more than one hit though junior outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro, Ky.) did reach base three times with an HBP, a walk and a single. For the Hoosiers, DeMuth led the way with two hits and a run scored.
The No. 4 Cardinals will look to bounce back against USF on Saturday at 4 p.m., ET at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla. Louisville will close the weekend on Sunday at 10 a.m., ET against Purdue at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla.
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Postgame Louisville Notes
- With Friday's result, the all-time series between Louisville and Indiana is even at 20-20.
- Despite the loss, UofL has won 11 of the last 14 against IU.
- The Cardinals lost for just the second time in 11 games at the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge.
- UofL dropped to 29-7 against Big Ten foes under the direction of coach Dan McDonnell.
- Friday's 2-0 defeat marked the first time Louisville was shutout in a season-opener since dropping a 7-0 decision at USC in 2004.
- The Cardinals went 76 games between shutouts offensively.
- Louisville has lost its season-opener in three of seven seasons under the direction of McDonnell. The previous two were 2012 (which ended with the Cardinals advancing to the championship round of an NCAA Regional) and 2009 (which ended with Louisville falling in an NCAA Super Regional).
- With his third inning single, senior second baseman Nick Ratajczak has hit safely in six straight games dating back to last season's NCAA Regional and the 2012 BIG EAST Championship.