April 22, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. - With the series win in hand, the No. 22 Louisville baseball team was unable to complete the weekend sweep at USF as the Cardinals dropped a 5-1 decision to the host Bulls on Sunday afternoon at USF Stadium.
With the loss, the Cardinals moved to 28-12 on the season and 10-5 in BIG EAST Conference action, while the Bulls improved to 27-14 on the season and 11-4 in league games. With four weeks left in the regular season, Louisville sits one game behind the first-place trio of USF, Connecticut and St. John's. Among U of L's 12 remaining BIG EAST games are three-game sets at home against both UConn (April 27-29) and St. John's (May 11-13).
After earning a 6-5 win in Friday's series-opener and a 12-1 victory in game two, the Cardinals were never able to get anything going offensively against USF starter Derrick Stultz, while the Bulls were able to create enough offense to salvage the final game. Stultz pitched well allowing only one run on six hits in 8.0 innings to earn the win and improve to 6-1 on the season.
For Louisville, freshman right-hander Jared Ruxer (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central HS) was charged with his first career loss and dropped to 5-1 on the season after allowing three runs on four hits with two strikeouts and two walks in 5.1 innings.
Stultz and Ruxer dominated the first five innings on Sunday allowing only a combined six hits during that opening stretch. After Stultz worked a 1-2-3 sixth inning, the Bulls struck for four runs in the bottom of the frame to garner command of the game. The rally started with a one-out walk to shortstop Kyle Teaf, who then moved to third on a single to right by leftfielder Alex Mendez. Second baseman Luis Llerena followed with an RBI single to score Teaf and end the day for Ruxer.
Freshman lefty Joe Filomeno (Cicero, Ill./St. Rita HS) entered from the bullpen to get outfielder James Ramsay to groundout to second for the second out of the inning. After a two-out walk to third baseman Daniel Rockhold loaded the bases, Filomeno was replaced by sophomore righty Chad Green (Effingham, Ill./Effingham HS) who then walked designated hitter Todd Brazeal to plate Mendez for the second run of the inning. Outfielder Jimmy Falla then provided the biggest hit of the game with a two-run single to left to give the Bulls the 4-0 lead.
The Cardinals broke through for a run in the seventh as senior Stewart Ijames
(Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) led off the inning with a double down the right field line and eventually scored on an RBI groundout by sophomore catcher Kyle Gibson
(Henderson, Ky./Henderson County HS) to cut the deficit to 4-1. However, USF answered immediately in the bottom of the inning as Mendez connected for an RBI single off Cards' reliever Matt Koch
(Cherokee, Iowa/Washington HS) for the final 5-1 margin.
Up next, Louisville will begin a four-game homestand on Tuesday against rival Kentucky at 6 p.m., ET at Jim Patterson Stadium. At $5 each, general admission tickets are still available for the game through the U of L Ticket Office, while all reserved seats are sold out.
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