March 8, 2014
Sophomore righty Kyle Funkhouser pitched six quality innings on Saturday to earn his second win of the season.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - With senior catcher Shane Crain and junior infielder Grant Kay leading the offense, the 10th-ranked Louisville baseball team rolled to a 10-1 win over Miami (Ohio) on Saturday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Crain (Lexington, Ky.) was 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI and a run scored, while Kay (Omaha, Neb.) was 2-for-4 with a double, three RBI and a run as the Cardinals (9-4) scored in five consecutive innings from the second to the sixth to gain command. Freshman designated hitter Will Smith (Louisville, Ky.) chipped in going 2-for-3 with a double, one RBI and scored once, while junior shortstop Sutton Whiting homered and scored three times in the win.
"I'm seeing the ball well right now after struggling a little bit last week," said Kay. "Yesterday was a disappointing loss and a tough one to take, but today, we got good pitching and got the offense going a little bit. Tomorrow, we have to get after it again and win this series."
On the mound, sophomore righthander Kyle Funkhouser (Oak Forest, Ill.) allowed only one run on four hits with four strikeouts in six innings to earn the victory and improve to 2-1 on the season. Lowering his season ERA to 2.84, Funkhouser won his seventh career collegiate game while making his 10th career start.
"It wasn't one of my best days but I battled and got out of some jams," Funkhouser said. "I struggled locating throughout the game but I was able to make a couple of quality pitches when I needed to. We also had some timely plays defensively that got us through it."
Following Funkhouser on the mound was freshman lefty Robert Strader (Louisville, Ky.), who worked two innings of shutout relief, while freshman righty Ryan Lauria (Roanoke, Va.) recorded the final three outs of the game with a scoreless ninth inning.
Having split the first two games of the weekend series, the Cardinals and RedHawks will play the deciding third game on Sunday at 1 p.m., ET at Jim Patterson Stadium and admission is free.
The Cardinals struck first on Saturday when Crain delivered a two-run double down the left field line against Miami starter Nathan Williams to score freshman second baseman Nick Solak (Woodridge, Ill.) and junior outfielder Mike White (East Orange, N.J.) in the second inning. It was the second double of the season for Crain, who now has six RBI this season.
Miami (4-7) cut the Louisville lead to 2-1 in the top of the third with a RBI groundball off the bat of outfielder Matt Honchel. The RedHawks threatened for more in the inning but a 7-2 double-play on a perfect throw from senior Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky.) in left field to Crain behind the plate cut down shortstop Chad Sedio for the third out of the frame.
The Cardinals then pushed the advantage back to two at 3-1 in the bottom of the third when Kay scored from third on a RBI sacrifice fly to deep right field by Smith. Kay started the inning with a double off the base of the wall in left center before moving to third on a groundout.
An inning later, Kay delivered his first RBI of the afternoon with a two-run single up the middle to score Crain and Whiting. Crain had singled earlier in the frame while Whiting reached on a two-out fielding error at first by John Crummy to extend the inning. After a two-out walk to senior outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky.) loaded the bases, Kay blistered the first offering of the at-bat from Williams into center to extend the lead to 5-1.
White added another run to the advantage in the fifth with a RBI sacrifice fly to center to score Smith, who doubled to lead off the inning. The Cardinals tacked on three more runs in the sixth, including two unearned thanks to a throwing error on Miami. Kay plated the final run of the frame with a RBI groundout.
After a scoreless seventh inning, Louisville pushed across the final run of the afternoon in the eighth inning when Whiting sent a 1-0 offering from Miami reliever Ryan Haynes over the wall in right field for his first home run of the season. The solo shot was the second career home run for Whiting.
Williams suffered his second loss of the season for the RedHawks after allowing eight runs, including five earned, on seven hits with four strikeouts and four walks in five innings. Offensively, no Miami player had more than one hit in Saturday's loss.
Louisville Postgame Notes
- After going nearly four full seasons without turning four double plays in a single game, Louisville has converted four in each of the first two games of the series with Miami.
- The stretch of five consecutive innings with a run scored on Saturday is the second longest streak of the season for the Cardinals trailing only the eight straight innings with a run across two games on Feb. 21-22 against Western Michigan.
- Saturday marked the eighth time this season Louisville has allowed two or fewer earned runs in a game.
- The Cardinals improved to 7-0 this season when out-hitting the opponent and 5-0 against righty starters.
- Junior Grant Kay earned his first career collegiate start at first base on Saturday after previously starting at second base (eight starts), third base (one) and designated hitter (three).
- Freshman Nick Solak made his first ever start at second base on Saturday after four previous starts as the designated hitter.
- Senior Cole Sturgeon earned his first triple of the season on Saturday and his eighth career three-bagger.
- Sturgeon has hit safely in nine straight games and has reached base safely in 13 straight.