April 22, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. - Sophomore righty Jeff Thompson pitched six strong innings while four different Cardinals had two hits as the 22nd-ranked Louisville baseball team earned a series-clinching 12-1 win at USF on Sunday in the conclusion of Saturday's suspended game.
With the series-clinching win, the Cardinals improved to 28-11 overall and 10-4 in BIG EAST Conference action, while the Bulls dropped to 26-14 on the season and 10-4 in league games. Following the completion of the top of the seventh inning on Saturday, the game was halted due to inclement weather before being resumed on Sunday afternoon.
Offensively, junior outfielder Matt Helms (Eufaula, Okla./Seminole State CC) was 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, three RBI and a run scored, while sophomore outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) finished 2-for-5 with a double, two RBI and a run. Sophomore outfielder Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy) went 2-for-4 with a triple, two runs and an RBI and sophomore third baseman Ty Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) chipped in with two hits, an RBI and a run scored as the Cardinals finished with a 13-3 advantage in hits.
On the mound for the Cardinals, Thompson (Greenville, Ind./Floyd Central HS) allowed only one unearned run on just two hits with six strikeouts in his 6.0 innings to earn the win and improve to 8-1 on the season. Senior right-hander Travis Tingle (Louisville, Ky./Cleveland State CC) followed with 2.0 innings of shutout relief while freshman righty Nick Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South HS) pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the win.
Louisville rolled out of the gates quickly on Saturday scoring three runs on three hits in the first inning off USF starter Joey Lovecchio. Sturgeon opened the game with a leadoff double to left field and after moving to third on a single through the right side by junior second baseman Nick Ratajczak
(Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC), scored on balk by Lovecchio. Gardner followed with an RBI triple to center field to plate Ratajczak before scoring the final run of the inning on an RBI sacrifice fly to center by Young.
The Cardinals added to their lead in the third inning with five runs on four hits. Senior first baseman Stewart Ijames (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) started the scoring with a two-run single to center field to plate Gardner and Young. Catcher Shane Crain (Lexington, Ky./Wabash Valley CC) added an RBI sac fly to right later in the frame, while Helms closed the scoring in the inning with a two-run double down the left field line for the 8-0 lead.
After the Bulls plated an unearned run in the fourth inning on an RBI groundout by third baseman Zac Gilcrease, Louisville pushed its lead to 9-1 in the fifth inning on an RBI groundout by Crain to score Ijames. The Cardinals continued their scoring ways in the seventh inning on an RBI double by Helms and a two-run single by Sturgeon for the 12-1 advantage.
Once play resumed after the suspension, the pitchers from both sides kept the 11-run margin intact until the final out. For USF, Lovecchio took his first loss of the season to fall to 7-1 overall after allowing eight runs on eight hits with two walks in 2.2 innings pitched.
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