Junior RHP Jeff Thompson
March 2, 2013
By Adam Pruiett, GoCards.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - One impressive streak for Jeff Thompson ended Saturday at Jim Patterson Stadium but another remained intact. As a result, a sensational string for the Louisville baseball team continued.
While Thompson finally allowed a run to cross the plate this season, the junior right-hander had another commanding performance in a 10-3 victory over Kent State that pushed his record to 3-0 and the fourth-ranked Cardinals' winning streak to nine.
The succession of victories is the most for Louisville (9-1) since the Cardinals won 13 straight to open the 2010 season. The Cards scored three runs apiece in the first and sixth innings in capturing the second of the three-game series with the Golden Flashes (1-9) after winning the first 14-2. The weekend finale is set for Sunday at 1 p.m., ET at Patterson Stadium and admission is free.
Thompson (Greenville, Ind./Floyd Central HS) notched his third win in three starts after working 6.2 innings and allowing three runs, including two earned, three hits and two walks with eight strikeouts. He had his career-best 13.2 scoreless innings streak snapped when Kent State scored twice in the third, but the 2012 All-BIG EAST selection regrouped to pitch comfortably into the seventh inning when the Flashes scratched across an unearned run.
By that point, Louisville had built a 6-2 lead behind its second three-run inning of the contest, highlighted in the sixth by a pair of triples from senior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC) and sophomore outfielder Mike White (East Orange, N.J./Salisbury HS). The Cardinals tacked on two runs each in the seventh and eighth innings en route to posting their eighth game this season of scoring at least seven runs or better.
Junior third baseman Ty Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) went 2-for-4 with two RBI while Ratajczak was 1-for-2 with three walks, three runs scored and an RBI. Junior centerfielder Adam Engel (Loveland, Ohio/Loveland HS) added two hits and a run scored.
Thompson has tallied at least five strikeouts in every start this season. On Saturday, the 6-foot-6 hurler collected eight, including two apiece in the first, second and fourth innings, respectively. With two outs and runners on first and second in the seventh, Thompson gave way to Anthony Kidston (Defiance, Ohio/Defiance), and the freshman right-hander ended the threat with a strikeout.
Louisville got to Kent State starter Taylor Williams early with three runs in the first inning. The Cardinals did the damage behind only one hit, an RBI double down the third base line by junior leftfielder Coco Johnson (Benton Harbor, Mich./Central Arizona College). The frame began with Engel being hit by a pitch and Ratajzcak walking, and following Johnson's two-bagger Louisville got consecutive RBI sacrifice flies from Young and freshman first baseman Danny Rosenbaum (Lafayette Hill, Pa./Plymouth Whitemarsh HS).
Kent State scored twice in the third inning, with centerfielder Evan Campbell's two-run double accounting for the first two runs Thompson allowed this season. Thompson responded by setting the Flashes down in order over the next three innings before Kent State scored an unearned run in the seventh on outfielder T.J. Sutton's RBI single.
Holding a slim 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth, Louisville doubled up its run total, with Ratajczak whipping a triple down the first base line to start things off. He scored when shortstop Derek Toadvine's throw to first on Johnson's ground ball pulled Zarley Zalewski off the bag and the ball was dislodged from Zalewski's glove on his tag attempt. Following a single by junior designated hitter Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy HS), White plated two runs with a triple to right center.
Louisville added two runs apiece in the seventh and eighth innings. Johnson's RBI sac fly and Young's RBI single accounted for the seventh-inning scores, while junior catcher Kyle Gibson (Henderson, Ky./Henderson County HS) had an RBI single in the eighth and Ratajczak walked with the bases loaded to register an RBI.
Kidston earned the first save of his Louisville career after working 2.1 innings of scoreless relief. He struck out five and didn't allow a base runner. Williams (1-1) suffered the loss after allowing six runs, including three earned, and six hits in six innings.
Postgame Louisville Notes
- Over its nine-game winning streak, Louisville has outscored its opponents 90-21.
- With Saturday's win, Louisville has won six straight over Kent State in the series and eight of nine overall while boosting its all-time record against the Flashes to 15-11.
- Louisville reached at least 10 runs in the scoring column for the fifth time this season.
- With its three-run first inning, Louisville has outscored its opponents 19-3 in the first frame this season and the Cardinals hold a 28-4 advantage over the first two innings.
- With eight strikeouts on Saturday, Jeff Thompson has fanned 25 batters in three starts encompassing 17.2 innings.
- Anthony Kidston's early impact with Louisville has been impressive, as the freshman hurler hasn't allowed a hit in 7.2 innings of scoreless relief while striking out 15 and walking just one.
- Louisville swiped six more bases on Saturday to push its season total to 47 in 58 attempts.
- In a rare occurrence, Adam Engel was caught stealing in the third inning. Engel had been perfect in his previous 13 attempts this season.
- Before being caught Saturday, Engel had stolen 18 straight bases dating back to last season, when he ended 2012 with five successful thefts after being caught on May 17.
- With three sacrifice flies on Saturday, Louisville has racked up 13 sac flies in 10 games.
- Louisville hasn't committed more than one error in five straight games, totaling two in that span.