March 16, 2013
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Sophomore outfielder Mike White belted his first career home run, a two-run missile to right field in the eighth inning of a tie game, to lift the fourth-ranked Louisville baseball team to an 8-6 win over Xavier on Saturday evening and complete a weekend sweep at Jim Patterson Stadium.
White (East Orange, N.J./Salisbury HS) blistered a 1-0 pitch from Xavier reliever Scott Klever to score junior catcher Kyle Gibson (Henderson, Ky./Henderson County HS) and push Louisville back ahead for good. The win capped a doubleheader sweep for the Cardinals (7-0 win in Saturday's first game), who improved to 16-2 overall with their seventh straight win. The loss dropped the Musketeers, who were swept for the first time this season, to 6-11 overall.
The home run capped a 2-for-4 day the plate for White, who also added a career best three RBI and two runs scored in the win. Gibson, who preceded White with a one-out single to center in the eighth inning, was 2-for-4 overall with a double and two runs scored. Junior third baseman Ty Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) added three hits, two RBI and a run scored, sophomore shortstop Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa./Louisville Ballard HS) chipped in with three hits, including a triple, to go with an RBI and a run scored, and senior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC) added two hits, including a double, and two runs scored for the Cards.
On the mound, Louisville freshman righty Kyle Funkhouser (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest HS) pitched 2.1 innings of perfect relief while striking out two to earn his first career win. Sophomore righty Nick Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South HS) followed Funkhouser out of the bullpen and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his third save. Klever allowed two runs on four hits in his three innings of relief to take the loss and fall to 2-2 overall.
After two scoreless innings, Louisville opened the scoring in Saturday's doubleheader finale plating a pair of runs in the third on a two-out, two-run single to left field by Young. An inning later, the Cardinals added two more runs, both with two outs, on RBI singles by White and Whiting for a 4-0 advantage.
The Musketeers broke through for their first run of the day in the fifth inning without the help of a hit. After loading the bases with two walks and a hit by pitch, shortstop Patrick Paligraf earned an RBI walk on a 3-2 pitch from UofL sophomore righty starter Jared Ruxer (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central HS) to score catcher Daniel Rizzie and cut the deficit to 4-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Cardinals plated two runs for the third consecutive frame to push the margin to five at 6-1. The inning started with Ratajczak reaching with a leadoff double down the right field line. After moving to third on a wild pitch, Ratajczak scored on an error by Xavier pitcher Tyler Koors when his pickoff throw to first sailed wide of first baseman Bo Slemons. Young, who walked earlier in the frame and advanced to third on the error by Koors, scored the second run of the frame on an RBI groundout by junior outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS).
The five-run lead was short-lived as Xavier plated five runs in the top of the sixth to even the score at 6-6. The scoring started with a bases loaded, two-out RBI walk for second baseman Jacob Bodner. That was followed by a two-run single to left by centerfielder Mark Elwell before designated hitter Vinny Nittoli closed the scoring with a two-run single through the left side.
After getting the final out of the sixth inning, Funkhouser added scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth before Louisville regained command in the bottom of the eighth on the home run by White.
Ruxer allowed four runs on three hits and five walks to go with three strikeouts in 5.0+ innings to finish with his fifth straight no-decision. Freshman righty Anthony Kidston (Defiance, Ohio/Defiance HS) followed by allowed two runs on two hits with two strikeouts in his 0.2 innings of relief before giving way to Funkhouser. For Xavier, Koors allowed six runs, including five earned, on nine hits with four strikeouts in five innings in the no-decision.
Up next, Louisville will host Pac-12 foe USC for a two-game midweek set starting Tuesday at 6 p.m., ET at Jim Patterson Stadium. The Cardinals and Trojans will conclude their series on Wednesday at 3 p.m., and admission is free for both games.
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Postgame Louisville Notes
- With Saturday's doubleheader sweep, Louisville improved to 14-1 at home this season and 194-71 (.732 winning percentage) all-time at Jim Patterson Stadium since it opened in 2005.
- With the weekend sweep, Louisville owns a 31-19 lead in the all-time series with Xavier, including a 21-11 mark at home.
- The Cardinals clinched their second straight weekend sweep (also swept Alabama last week) and their third weekend series sweep of the season (swept Akron in week two).
- Louisville's 16-2 start is its second best 18-game record under the direction of seventh year head coach Dan McDonnell trailing only the 17-1 mark by 2010 team, which went on to win a school record 50 games.
- Despite allowing a season-high six earned runs in Saturday's finale, the Cardinals maintain an impressive team ERA of just 1.77 through 18 games. Louisville also has 177 strikeouts on the mound in 168.0 innings pitched.
- With his 2.1 innings of shutout relief on Saturday, freshman Kyle Funkhouser pushed his career-opening scoreless streak to 12.1 innings. In his six shutout relief appearances, he has 14 strikeouts and has allowed only eight hits.
- In game one of Saturday's doubleheader, junior righty Jeff Thompson pitched a career best eight shutout innings to win his fifth straight start and push his scoreless streak to a career best 15.0 innings. Four of his five outings this season have been shutout performances.
- Sophomore shortstop Sutton Whiting leads the Cardinals in hitting through the first five weeks with a .424 average overall. He also leads the team in slugging at .627, triples with three, RBI with 16 (along with Ty Young) and walks with nine.