Louisville freshman SS Alex Chittenden
March 29, 2011
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Freshman shortstop Alex Chittenden was 2-for-3 at the plate and had the game-winning RBI as the No. 23 Louisville baseball team earned a 3-1 win over Western Kentucky on Tuesday evening at Jim Patterson Stadium.
With their sixth straight win in the series, the Cardinals improved to 16-8 overall, while the Hilltoppers dropped to 16-8 on the season with the loss. The two teams will meet again in one week as Louisville will take to the road to face WKU on April 5 at 7 p.m., ET at Bowling Green Ballpark, the home of the Class A Bowling Hot Rods in downtown Bowling Green.
With two outs and the scored tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Chittenden (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central HS) sent a 2-2 pitch from WKU reliever Taylor Haydel into centerfield to score freshman outfielder Adam Engel (Loveland, Ohio/Loveland HS) from second base for the game-winner. The inning started with a walk to sophomore first baseman Zak Wasserman (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore HS), who was replaced by Engel as a pinch runner. After moving to second base on a sacrifice bunt by senior catcher J.J. Ethel (Phoenix, Ariz./Mountain Pointe HS), Engel later scored on the two-out single by Chittenden.
On the mound, junior right-hander Derek Self (Cave City, Ky./Caverna HS) earned the win to improve to 2-0 on the season and 16-0 in his career after pitching 1.1 innings of perfect relief. His appearance started in the seventh inning, when he forced WKU senior catcher Matt Rice into a bases loaded groundout to end the inning and keep the score even at 1-1. Freshman righty Jeff Thompson (Greenville, Ind./Floyd Central HS) was outstanding in his second career start as a Cardinal allowing only one run on one hit with a career-best seven strikeouts in a career-long 5.1 innings of work.
Following a scoreless first inning, WKU broke through first with a run in the second inning on a two-out RBI single up the middle by first baseman Ryan Huck to score rightfielder Ryan Hutchison. An inning later, the Cardinals answered back to even the score at 1-1 with an unearned run in the fourth inning. Freshman Ty Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) led off the inning with a single up the middle, moved to second with his second stolen base of the season and later scored on a throwing error by shortstop Scott Wilcox. Young finished 2-for-4 overall at the plate for the Cardinals.
After gaining its first lead of the night in the seventh inning, the Cardinals added an insurance run in the eighth inning as freshman outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) earned a leadoff walk, moved to third on a single through the right side by Young and then scored on an RBI sacrifice fly to right field by junior second baseman Ryan Wright (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead HS) for the final 3-1 margin.
Junior right-handed closer Tony Zych (Monee, Ill./St. Rita HS) followed Self out of the Cardinals' bullpen for a scoreless ninth inning for his seventh save of the season. Overall, Louisville has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 17 of its 24 games this season. The Cardinals have a team ERA of only 2.09 with 158 strikeouts and only 75 walks in 215 innings pitched this season.
Up next, the Cardinals will continue BIG EAST Conference action with a three-game home series against West Virginia. The series will open on Friday at 6 p.m., ET and will continue on Saturday at 1 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. Admission is free for the entire weekend.