Feb. 22, 2014
Sophomore righty Kyle Funkhouser fanned a career-best 10 in Saturday afternoon's shutout win over Western Michigan.
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CardsTV Postgame Interview: RHP Kyle ~nbsp>Funkhouser
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Sophomore righthander Kyle Funkhouser struck out a career-best 10 in seven shutout innings to lead the No. 7 Louisville baseball team to an 8-0 series-clinching victory over Western Michigan on Saturday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Working his longest outing of the season, Funkhouser (Oak Forest, Ill.) allowed only two hits and issued just two walks while surpassing his previous career-high for strikeouts of eight against Eastern Kentucky on May 7, 2013. Improving to 1-0 on the season, Funkhouser also earned his sixth career win overall as the Cardinals (5-1) picked up their first shutout of 2014.
"The plan was to attack with the fastball to get ahead and stay ahead and it seemed to work today," said Funkhouser. "It's much easier to pitch from ahead than it is to pitch from behind."
With freshman righty Mason Richardson (Owensboro, Ky.) striking out two in his collegiate debut in a perfect eighth inning and freshman lefty Robert Strader (Louisville, Ky.) adding a strikeout in a perfect ninth, the Cardinals allowed only two hits as a staff on Saturday for the lowest hit total surrendered by them since Alabama had just two hits in a 6-0 victory for Louisville on March 9, 2013. Only once all day did the Broncos (0-5) get a baserunner to second base after they put runners at first and second with one out in the seventh before Funkhouser earned back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.
At the plate, junior shortstop Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa.) was 2-for-3 with a stolen base and two runs scored in his first start since being hit by a pitch against West Virginia on Feb. 14 and suffering a fractured nose. Senior catcher Shane Crain (Lexington, Ky.) was 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored, senior outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky.) added two hits and scored once and senior outfielder Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky.) chipped in with a double and two RBI as the Cardinals reached double-figures in hits (10) for third straight game.
Louisville struck quickly on Saturday plating a pair of runs in the first inning against WMU righty starter Chad Mayle. Whiting started things for the Cardinals with a leadoff single, stole second, moved to third on a single by Sturgeon and then scored on a balk by Mayle. Gardner followed moments later with a RBI double down the left field line to plate Sturgeon for the 2-0 lead.
The Cardinals added a run in the fifth when Gardner was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded allowing freshman designated hitter Nick Solak (Woodridge, Ill.) to score, while an inning later, they converted for five more runs. The scoring in the five-run sixth inning started with a RBI single from Crain. Louisville then plated three runs on back-to-back fielding errors by Broncos' third baseman Grant Miller and first baseman Hunter Prince before sophomore first baseman Danny Rosenbaum (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) added a RBI single to end the scoring for the Cardinals.
Mayle was charged with the loss and dropped to 0-2 on the season after allowing three runs, all earned, on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 4.1 innings.
Louisville and Western Michigan will conclude the weekend series on Sunday at 1 p.m., ET at Patterson Stadium and admission is free.
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Louisville Postgame Notes
- The Cardinals improved to 3-0 at home this season and are 217-75 (.743 winning percentage) all-time at Jim Patterson Stadium since its opening during the 2005 season.
- With the five-run sixth inning on Saturday, Louisville has generated five or more runs in an inning four times this season with all of those coming in the three home games this week.
- The Cardinals played error-free baseball on Saturday marking the third time this season they have done so. Overall, Louisville has just two total errors in the last five games.
- The Louisville pitching staff has allowed one earned run or less in three of the last four games overall.
- The Cardinals' pitching staff combined for a season-high 13 strikeouts on Saturday.
- The seven innings from Kyle Funkhouser are the second most in a game for the sophomore trailing only the nine innings in last season's complete game shutout at Eastern Kentucky (4-0 on May 7, 2013).
- With his first inning RBI double, Jeff Gardner has hit safely in all six games this season and has a seven-game hitting streak overall dating back to the final game of the 2013 season against Oregon State at the College World Series.
- Gardner finished with two RBI on Saturday marking his third game this season with two or more runs driven in.
- Gardner, Cole Sturgeon, Grant Kay and Danny Rosenbaum have each reached base safely in all six games this season.