April 10, 2012
Box Score |
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Freshman right-hander Jared Ruxer pitched six dominant innings while six different Cardinals finished with at least two hits as the 19th-ranked Louisville baseball team rolled to a 12-0 win at No. 1 Kentucky on Tuesday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
With their largest margin of victory in series history, the Cardinals improved to 24-9 on the season while the Wildcats dropped to 30-4 overall as their 21-game non-conference home winning streak was snapped. It was the Cardinals' first win over a top-ranked team since winning two of three in a series victory against No. 1 Tulane on March 25-26, 2005 in Louisville.
Ruxer (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central HS) was the star in Tuesday's win allowing just three hits with a career-best six strikeouts in 6.0+ impressive innings of work to improve to 5-0 on the season. Facing one of the nation's top offensive units, Ruxer set the tone for six innings as the Cardinals became the first team to shutout the Wildcats this season. The four hits also matched a season-low for UK, which entered the night ranked second in the nation in hitting and fourth nationally in scoring.
At the plate, sophomore outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) led the balanced offensive attack for the Cardinals going 3-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI. Junior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC) was 2-for-5 with a double and three runs, while freshman Zach Lucas (Louisville, Ky./Butler HS) was 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and an RBI. Junior first baseman Zak Wasserman (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore HS) was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run, sophomore outfielder Adam Engel (Loveland, Ohio/Loveland HS) added two hits, an RBI and a run and sophomore Alex Chittenden (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central HS) was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Sophomore third baseman Ty Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) added his fourth home run of the season and two RBI in the win.
Following Ruxer on the mound was Sturgeon, who had one strikeout and allowed only one hit in 1.2 innings of shutout relief to go with his three-hit performance at the plate. Junior righty Matt Koch
(Cherokee, Iowa/Washington HS) had three strikeouts while recording the final four outs of the game.
Louisville jumped on UK lefty starter A.J. Reed quickly plating three runs on four hits in the first inning to continue its opening frame trend this season. Through 33 games in 2012, the Cardinals have outscored their opponents 58-7 in the first inning. Ratajczak started the inning with a one-out double down the left field line and after moving to third on a single by Lucas, scored on an RBI single by senior Stewart Ijames (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) for the 1-0 lead. After Young was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Chittenden scored Lucas on an RBI sacrifice fly for the second run. Wasserman completed the scoring in the first with an RBI single to left to plate Ijames for the three-run advantage.
In the bottom of the first, Ruxer recorded the first two outs with a routine flyout and a strikeout before Engel made a dramatic home run robbing catch on a fly ball to center off the bat of Reed for a 1-2-3 inning. The catch, which was No. 2 on the SportsCenter's Top Plays for Tuesday, was the second home run robbing catch of the season for Engel, who did the same in the Cardinals' home win against Eastern Kentucky on Feb. 22.
After a scoreless second inning, Louisville added to its lead in the third as Young started the scoring with a one-out solo home run to left center off Reed for a four-run advantage. Later in the inning, the Cardinals strung together three straight hits for another run and a 5-0 lead. Wasserman started the two-out rally with a single to right field, After moving to second on a single by sophomore catcher Kyle Gibson (Henderson, Ky./Henderson County HS), Wasserman scored on an RBI single through the left side by Sturgeon.
The lead remained that way until the sixth inning when Sturgeon led off with a double to right center off UK reliever Sam Mahar and later scored on an RBI double to left center by Engel for a 6-0 cushion. Louisville added four more runs in the eighth as Sturgeon scored on a wild pitch from Jeff Boehm, Ratajczak scored on an RBI bases loaded walk by Young, Lucas scored on an RBI fielder's choice by freshman Mike White (East Orange, N.J./Salisbury HS) and Ijames scored on throwing error by UK shortstop Matt Reida.
The Cardinals closed the scoring with two more runs in the ninth as Engel was plated on an RBI double to right center by Lucas and Ratajczak scored from third when UK catcher Michael Williams dropped the third strike pitch from Taylor Martin allowing sophomore Ryan Seiz (Perkasie, Pa./Christopher Dock HS) to reach base and extend the inning.
For the Wildcats, Reed took his first loss of the season to drop to 4-1 overall after allowing five runs, all earned, on nine hits in just 2.2 innings pitched. Overall, five of Kentucky's six pitchers on Tuesday were charged with at least one run allowed in the loss.
Up next, No. 19 Louisville returns home for a three-game BIG EAST Conference series against Seton Hall. The Cardinals and Pirates will open the weekend on Friday at 6 p.m., ET for Patriotic Night at Jim Patterson Stadium. The series will continue on Saturday at 3 p.m., before concluding Sunday at 1 p.m. Admission is free throughout the weekend.
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