March 6, 2012
Box Score |
Recap by Adam Pruiett, UofLsports.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - What, no home run? The Louisville baseball team was certainly doing everything right offensively in the first inning Tuesday against Indiana when the only complaint one could level against the Cardinals was they failed to hit for the cycle as a team because nobody homered.
No. 14 Louisville scored five runs in the first inning, four in the fifth and every Cardinals starter tallied a hit by the fifth inning in a 13-4 thumping of the Hoosiers at Jim Patterson Stadium.
The 13 runs and 15 hits were both season highs for the Cardinals (9-3), who concluded a nine-game homestand with seven victories, including three straight. With the win over Indiana (3-7), Louisville is now 3-1 against Big Ten teams this season, also triumphing over Illinois and Michigan State.
The hits and runs came in bunches for the Cardinals. They started the game with five consecutive hits and also had five straight in the fifth. They chased Indiana starter Brian Korte (0-2) before he could record a single out. When sophomore outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) picked up an infield single in the fifth, Louisville's entire starting lineup had accumulated a hit.
Senior first baseman Stewart Ijames (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) lengthened his hitting streak to nine games after going 2-for-5 with a double, one RBI and two runs. Sophomore leftfielder Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy HS) also had two hits, two runs and an RBI while freshman designated hitter Mason Snyder (Ottawa, Ill./Marquette Academy HS) had a two-run triple among his two hits. Sophomore centerfielder Adam Engel (Loveland, Ohio/Loveland HS) added a pair of hits and a run.
Sophomore third baseman Ty Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) contributed a two-run double, freshman catcher Cameron O'Brien (Tulsa, Okla./Bishop Kelley HS) smacked a two-run double for the first hit of his Louisville career and junior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC), sophomore catcher Kyle Gibson (Henderson, Ky./Henderson County HS), sophomore shortstop Alex Chittenden (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central HS), Sturgeon and sophomore third baseman Ryan Seiz (Perkasie, Pa./Christopher Dock HS) all had one hit apiece.
In his first career start and third overall appearance, freshman right-hander Jared Ruxer (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central HS) notched his first win in a Cardinals uniform. He struck out four while allowing five hits and two earned runs in five innings. Sophomore right-hander Chad Green (Effingham, Ill./Effingham HS), freshman right-hander Nick Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South HS), sophomore left-hander Cody Ege (Cherokee, Iowa/Cherokee Washington HS), sophomore right-hander Dace Kime (Defiance, Ohio/Defiance HS) and freshman right-hander Joe Ceja (Ottawa, Ill./Marquette Academy) took turns in relief. It was the first appearance of Ceja's career, and he worked a scoreless ninth.
Engel led off the first by beating out a grounder in the hole between first and second. The hustle play triggered a string of hits. Ratajczak and Gardner both slapped opposite-field singles, with Gardner's poke bringing in Engel. Ratajczak trotted home when Ijames creamed a double to right center, and Snyder made it 4-0 when he nearly missed the first home run of his career by crushing a triple off the left center fence. Chittenden walked and Young was hit by a pitch as the first seven Cardinals reached base. Korte was pulled for Luke Harrison, yielding five runs on five hits. Louisville nearly hit for the cycle in the first inning after singling, doubling and tripling.
The Cardinals matched their first-inning explosion in the fifth. Harrison had calmed Louisville down and was in a promising position after sandwiching strikeouts around an Ijames single. However, Chittenden rejuvenated the Cardinals when he perfectly executed a hit-and-run, pushing a single through the vacated second base side. Young followed by ripping a two-out, two-run double down the right field line for a 7-2 lead, Gibson lined an RBI single, Sturgeon collected an infield single and Engel added the team's fifth straight hit on a liner up the middle.
Gardner led off the sixth with a single and eventually scored on a wild pitch for a 10-2 advantage, and the Cardinals plated three more runs in the eighth in coasting to their third win in a row. Indiana scored once in the second and third and twice in the seventh, but Louisville's pitchers never allowed the Hoosiers to truly threaten. Indiana didn't help matters with five errors.
Louisville will play three games this weekend in the Alabama Tournament. The Cardinals will meet Oral Roberts at 2 p.m., ET Friday before facing Alabama at 5:05 p.m., Saturday and East Carolina at 11 a.m., Sunday.
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