March 21, 2014
Sophomore righty Kyle Funkhouser won his third straight start and earned his ninth career collegiate win on Friday night.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Sophomore Kyle Funkhouser struck out seven and pitched into the eighth inning as the seventh-ranked Louisville baseball team opened American Conference action with a 6-1 win over Rutgers on Friday night at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Funkhouser (Oak Forest, Ill.) allowed just one run on five hits in a season-high 7.2 innings to win his third straight decision and improve to 4-1 on the season. After allowing a RBI double in the fourth inning, the hard-throwing righty retired 14 straight batters before allowing a two-out double in the eighth to end his night.
At the plate, senior outfielder Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky.) delivered a three-run double in the first inning, while senior outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky.) added a RBI double in the second inning as the Cardinals (16-5, 1-0 American) gained command from the outset. Junior shortstop Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa.) chipped in going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two stolen bases in the win.
The two teams will continue the series on Saturday at 1 p.m., ET before concluding the weekend on Sunday at 1 p.m. Admission is free throughout the weekend at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Louisville struck first in Friday's series-opener when Gardner connected on a 1-0 pitch from Rutgers (7-11, 0-1 American) righty starter Kyle Driscoll for a three-run double to left center. Whiting started the inning with a single to right field and was followed by Sturgeon earning a walk and junior first baseman Grant Kay (Omaha, Neb.) being hit by a pitch to load the bases for Gardner.
An inning later, the Cardinals added to the lead on the run-scoring double down the right field line by Sturgeon to plate Whiting, who doubled to left center earlier in the inning before scoring for the 4-0 lead. After Rutgers plated a run in the top of the fourth on a RBI double by designated hitter Lou Clemente, Louisville answered in the bottom of the inning with a RBI single from Kay to score senior third baseman Alex Chittenden (Indianapolis, Ind.) for the 5-1 advantage.
The Cardinals plated their sixth and final run of the night in the seventh inning when freshman Logan Taylor (Lexington, Ky.), pinch running for Gardner, scored from third on a wild pitch by reliever Slater McCue. The inning started with Gardner being hit by a 3-0 pitch from reliever Ian Riddell.
Following Funkhouser's strong start on the mound, junior lefty Kyle McGrath (Louisville, Ky.) had one strikeout in 1.1 innings of shutout relief to close the game for the Cardinals. Driscoll took the loss for the Scarlet Knights and dropped to 1-2 on the season after allowing five runs on six hits in five innings.
Louisville Postgame Notes
- Louisville improved to 19-8 all-time in the series with Rutgers, including an 11-4 mark at home.
- The Cardinals improved to 6-2 in conference openers under the guidance of head coach Dan McDonnell.
- After earning a first inning walk to go with his second inning double, Cole Sturgeon has reached base safely in all 21 games this season and 27 straight overall dating back to last season.
- With Friday's outing, Kyle Funkhouser lowered his ERA this season to 3.00 while earning his ninth career collegiate win.
- Louisville improved to 11-1 this season when scoring first and 7-1 when scoring in the first inning.
- The Cardinals have allowed two or fewer earned runs in 14 of 21 games this season.
- Louisville is 15-0 this season when leading after the eighth inning and has won 70 straight games overall when entering the ninth inning with the lead.
- The Cardinals improved to 10-0 this season against righty starters.
- Louisville is 228-78 all-time at Jim Patterson Stadium for a .745 winning percentage in the ballpark, which opened in April 2005.