March 14, 2014
The Cardinals celebrate with junior infielder Zach Lucas after his second home run of the game in Friday's victory.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - With strong winds blowing out at Jim Patterson Stadium, the No. 10 Louisville baseball team scored the first 11 runs of Friday afternoon's series-opener with Samford and never looked back in a 20-10 victory.
Due to expected inclement weather on Sunday, the two teams will conclude the three-game weekend series with a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m., ET, and admission is free.
Junior infielder Zach Lucas (Louisville, Ky.) led the way for the Cardinals (13-4) hitting a pair of home runs with five RBI and four runs scored, all career highs for the team captain. Junior infielder Grant Kay (Omaha, Neb.) was 3-for-4 with a double, a career-best five RBI and two runs, while senior outfielder Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky.) was 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs.
Freshman outfielder Colin Lyman (Algonquin, Ill.) had career highs with two hits and three RBI, while sophomore first baseman Danny Rosenbaum (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) chipped in with two hits and two RBI as the Cardinals reached 20 runs for the second time this season. Louisville has won five straight overall, the longest winning streak of season.
On the mound, sophomore righthander Kyle Funkhouser (Oak Forest, Ill.) earned the win and improved to 3-1 on the season after striking out eight while allowing four earned runs on nine hits in six innings. The 10 runs for Samford (11-6) were the most allowed by Louisville in a win since an 11-10 victory over Morehead State on March 18, 2009.
For the Bulldogs, righty starter Alex Ledford suffered his first loss of the season and dropped to 3-1 overall after allowing nine runs, including six earned, on 10 hits in four innings pitched. At the plate, third baseman Tripp Martin was 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI for Samford.
Following a scoreless first inning, Louisville struck in the second inning when Lyman scored from second on a RBI fielder's choice off the bat of senior catcher Kyle Gibson (Henderson, Ky.), who reached first ahead of the relay throw from second on an attempted inning-ending double-play. An inning later, the Cardinals pushed their lead to 4-0 on a RBI single from Gardner and a two-run single from Lyman.
Louisville kept the pedal down in the fourth inning when Kay delivered a two-run double, Gardner chipped in with a RBI single and Lucas crushed the first offering from Ledford over the left field wall for a two-run shot and a 9-0 lead. The advantage increased to 11-0 in the fifth inning on a two-run double to left center by Kay.
After the Bulldogs broke through for four runs in the top of the sixth inning, Louisville answered with a seven-spot in the bottom of the frame for an 18-4 cushion. Their highest scoring inning of the season, the Cardinals did it on just two hits as Samford issued four walks and hit two batters in the inning.
Samford cut into the margin with two runs in the seventh on a RBI sac fly by Heath Quinn and a RBI groundout by Richard Greene and four more runs in the eighth on a grand slam by Martin. Louisville plated the final two runs of the game in the home half of the eighth on Lucas' second home run of the day, a two-run shot to left center on a 3-1 pitch from Hunter Swilling.
Louisville Postgame Notes
- The five-game winning streak is the longest of the season for Louisville. The Cardinals had previously won four straight games twice.
- With a five-run fourth inning and a seven-run sixth inning, the Cardinals have scored five or more runs in a single inning seven times this season.
- Louisville scored in five straight innings on Friday (second through the sixth) marking the third time this season they have scored in five or more consecutive innings in a game.
- With two more home runs on Friday, the Cardinals have 13 home runs this season through the first 17 games. Last season, Louisville didn't hit its 13th home run until the 34th game of the season.
- The Cardinals improved to 10-0 this season when out-hitting their opponent and 7-0 against righty starters.
- Kyle Funkhouser's eight strikeouts on Friday were the second most this season for him surpassed only by the career-best 10 strikeouts against Western Michigan on Feb. 22.
- With Friday's outing, Funkhouser has a 3.45 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 31.1 innings pitched to go with his 3-1 record.
- Zach Lucas became the first Louisville player to homer twice in one game since Coco Johnson had two home runs against Bowling Green on May 31, 2013 in the first round of the NCAA Regional at Patterson Stadium.
- The four runs scored by Lucas are the most since Kyle Gibson scored four times against Eastern Kentucky on Feb. 20, 2013.
- With his single in the fourth inning, Cole Sturgeon has reached base safely in all 17 games this season and 23 straight games overall going back to last season.