No. 7 Cardinals Slug Past Western Michigan, 21-8

 



Feb. 21, 2014

Sophomore first baseman Danny Rosenbaum was one of five Cardinals at least three hits on Friday.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - With the offense setting season highs for runs and hits, the seventh-ranked Louisville baseball team opened its weekend series against Western Michigan with a 21-8 victory on Friday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium.

The Cardinals (4-1) pounded out a Patterson Stadium record 22 hits and finished with their highest run-scoring performance since a 21-4 win at Indiana on April 17, 2012 as they won third straight game overall. Senior outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky.) led the way going 3-for-6 with a home run, two doubles and a career best six RBI, while catcher Kyle Gibson (Henderson, Ky.) added a career-best four hits with three RBI and three runs scored.

"It's great for the team. It gets the momentum going when you're hitting like that and you try to carry that as long as you can," Sturgeon said. "But there's a long way to go and you can't look too far ahead. We have good energy but we have to keep it going."

Senior outfielder Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky.) added a double and scored twice finishing 3-for-4, while sophomore first baseman Danny Rosenbaum (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) chipped in with three hits, three runs and a RBI. Freshman designated hitter Will Smith (Louisville, Ky.) was also 3-for-4 with two doubles and three runs scored, and junior Zach Lucas (Louisville, Ky.) added his second home run this week and four RBI.

Friday's series-opener also included the return of junior infielder Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa.), who missed the last three games with a fractured nose after being hit by a pitch in the Cardinals' season-opening win over West Virginia on Feb. 14. Coming off the bench midway through the game, Whiting was 2-for-4 with a double and scored twice.

Surpassing the previous Patterson Stadium record of 21 hits set in the Cardinals' 20-2 win over Oklahoma State in the decisive third game of the 2007 NCAA Super Regional, Louisville finished with its highest hit total overall since finishing with 23 hits in a 19-13 win at Saint Louis on April 24, 2005. Having scored in double-figures in back-to-back games for the first time since April 2013 in wins over Elon (10-4) and Kentucky (12-5), the Cardinals have tallied 34 runs overall in two games this week marking the their highest two-game run total since scoring 34 runs in wins over Wright State (24-5) and Kent State (10-9) in March 1999.

The visiting Broncos (0-4) battled early in Friday's opener scoring the first run of the day on a RBI triple by shortstop Andrew Sohn, but the Cardinals answered an inning later when Smith delivered a RBI double to tie the game and Gibson added a two-run single to give Louisville the lead for good at 3-1.

After WMU cut the lead in half on a RBI single by catcher Brett Sunde in the top of the third, the Cardinals plated four in the bottom of the inning for the 7-2 lead. Junior Grant Kay (Omaha, Neb.) scored the first run of the inning from third on a wild pitch by Broncos' lefty starter Steve Laudicina before three more scored when Lucas sent a 1-2 offering over the wall in left center for his third career home run.

The visitors from Kalamazoo, Mich., replied with a four-spot in the fourth as third baseman Grant Miller provided a RBI groundout and outfielder Jared Kujawa added a three-run triple to cut the deficit to 7-6. The Cardinals added a run in the bottom of the fourth on a bases loaded RBI walk by Rosenbaum before the Broncos again pulled within a run on a RBI single by Miller for an 8-7 edge for the home team after the top of the fifth.

However, that was as close as Western Michigan would get as the Cardinals went on to score 13 of the final 14 runs in the game. The four-run fifth inning for Louisville included a two-run double by Sturgeon, a RBI sac fly by freshman outfielder Colin Lyman (Algonquin, Ill.) and an unearned run following a WMU fielding error. Two more UofL runs scored in the sixth after another RBI sac fly by Lyman and a second unearned run on the day.

After the Broncos scored their final run of the game in the top of the seventh on the third RBI by Miller, Louisville plated five runs in the bottom of the frame on a RBI sac fly by Lucas, a RBI single by Gibson and a three-run homer by Sturgeon for the 19-8 lead. The Cardinals finished the scoring in the eighth inning on a RBI double by freshman outfielder Corey Ray (Chicago, Ill.) and a RBI double by Sturgeon.

On the mound, sophomore righthander Jonah Philley (Louisville, Ky.) came out of the bullpen to earn his first career collegiate win after allowing one run on one hit with one strikeout in 1.1 innings of relief. Freshman lefty Drew Harrington (Elizabethtown, Ky.) followed with two strikeouts in his 1.1 innings of work, while freshman righty Ryan Lauria (Roanoke, Va.) made his collegiate debut with two strikeouts in two innings of shutout relief to close the game.

For WMU, Laudicina took the loss and dropped to 0-1 on the season after allowing eight runs, all earned, on six hits in 3.2 innings. A total of six pitchers worked for the Broncos on Friday with five of those surrendering at least one earned run.

The Cardinals and Broncos will continue their weekend set on Saturday at 1 p.m., ET, while Sunday's series finale is also set for a 1 p.m., first pitch.

Fans can follow Louisville baseball on Twitter (@UofLBaseball) at http://twitter.com/uoflbaseball and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ulbaseball.

Louisville Postgame Notes
- The Cardinals improved to 2-0 at home this season and are 216-75 (.742 winning percentage) all-time at Jim Patterson Stadium since its opening during the 2005 season.

- Louisville's opponents have scored first in four of the five games this season. The Cardinals are 3-1 in those contests.

- With two more home runs on Friday, Louisville has seven home runs through the first five games of 2014. Last season, the Cardinals did not hit their seventh home run until the 17th game.

- The 21 runs for Louisville were the second most in Patterson Stadium history behind only the 24-run outburst against Rutgers on May 1, 2010 (W, 24-6).

- Friday's game required 3 hours, 49 minutes to be played, the longest nine-inning game this season for the Cardinals and their longest overall since Feb. 21, 2004 when they earned a 19-6 win over San Diego State in a 3-hour, 54-minute neutral site game in Los Angeles.

- Senior Cole Sturgeon became the first Cardinal to finish with six RBI in a game since Stewart Ijames had six RBI against St. John's on May 16, 2010.

- Senior Jeff Gardner has hit safely in all five games this season. He's the only Louisville player to do after Grant Kay's four-game stretch of hitting safely ended on Friday.

- Gardner, Sturgeon, Kay and sophomore Danny Rosenbaum have each reached safely in all five games this season.

- In two games this week, junior Zach Lucas has connected for two homes (second and third career home runs) and has driven in eight total runs (four in each game).

- A trio of freshmen in Will Smith (3-for-4 with two doubles), Nick Solak (2-for-2) and Corey Ray (RBI double) all earned their first career collegiate hits in Friday's win.

 

 

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