No. 11 Baseball Takes Down Hilltoppers 6-2

 
Junior RHP Dace Kime


Junior RHP Dace Kime

April 30, 2013

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Junior righthander Dace Kime pitched five shutout innings as the 11th-ranked Louisville baseball team won its fourth straight game with a 6-2 victory over visiting Western Kentucky on Tuesday night at Jim Patterson Stadium.

Kime (Defiance, Ohio/Defiance HS) struck out six and allowed only four hits while matching a career high with the five scoreless innings to earn the win for the Cardinals (34-10) and improve to 3-1 overall. It was his longest outing since working five shutout innings in his collegiate debut in the start against Morehead State on March 1, 2011. Following Kime's terrific start, freshman righty Kyle Funkhouser (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest HS) closed it out by striking out three as he recorded the final four outs of the game in shutout fashion for his first career save.

At the plate, Louisville got a balanced effort with junior outfielder Coco Johnson (Benton Harbor, Mich./Central Arizona) leading the way going 2-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base. Junior outfielder Adam Engel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Loveland HS) added an RBI double, two walks, two stolen bases and a run scored, while sophomore shortstop Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa./Louisville Ballard HS) chipped in with a single, an RBI, a stolen base and a run scored.

After a pair of scoreless innings opened Tuesday's game, Louisville plated the first runs of the night in the third scoring two runs on two hits against WKU starter Alex Mercer. Following a pair of groundouts to start the inning, Engel earned a walk from Mercer and stole second before scoring on a RBI single up the middle by senior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC). After moving to second on a walk to junior third baseman Ty Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep), Ratajczak scored on a RBI single to left by Johnson for the 2-0 advantage.

An inning later, Louisville pushed its margin to three runs on a RBI groundball off the bat of Whiting to plate junior catcher Shane Crain (Lexington, Ky./Wabash Valley CC). In the sixth inning, the Cardinals increased their lead to 4-0 when Engel lined a 2-1 pitch from WKU reliever Austin Clay down the left field line to plate Crain.

Following a scoreless seventh inning, the Hilltoppers broke through against the Louisville pitching staff in the eighth when first baseman Ryan Huck followed a walk to pinch hitter David Simmons by sending a 3-2 offering from lefty reliever Kyle McGrath (Louisville, Ky./Eastern Kentucky) over the centerfield wall for his 12th home run of the season to cut the Cardinals' lead to 4-2.

Louisville added a pair of unearned insurance runs in the eighth to push the lead to the final four-run margin. After reaching base with a two-out double down the right field line off WKU reliever Josh Bartley, senior first baseman Zak Wasserman (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore HS) scored following a fielding error by WKU third baseman Blake Crabtree on a hot shot off the bat of Whiting. Later in the inning, after Engel and Ratajczak walked to load the bases, junior infielder Alex Chittenden (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central HS) earned an RBI walk to score Whiting for the final run of the day.

Mercer took the loss for the Hilltoppers and dropped to 0-1 on the season after allowing two runs on two hits with two walks and a strikeout in 2.2 innings of work. Huck finished 2-for-4 overall and accounted for all of the WKU offense with his home run.

Up next, the Cardinals return to BIG EAST Conference action with a three-game weekend road series against Villanova starting Friday at 3:45 p.m., ET in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. The series continues on Saturday at 1:15 p.m., and Sunday at 12:15 p.m., and live audio of the entire series is available to CardsTV subscribers at GoCards.com.

Fans can follow Louisville baseball on Twitter at http://twitter.com/uoflbaseball and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ulbaseball.

Postgame Louisville Notes

- With Tuesday's win, Louisville improved to 27-5 at home this season and 207-75 (.734 winning percentage) all-time at Jim Patterson Stadium since it opened in 2005.

- Tuesday's win also avenged the Cardinals' earlier loss to WKU, a 6-5 walkoff loss at Bowling Green Ballpark on April 9.

- Entering the week ranked fifth in the nation in stolen bases entering the week, the Cardinals had five steals on Tuesday to increase the season total to 115 in 150 attempts.

- Adam Engel, who was ranked fifth nationally in stolen bases entering the week, had two swipes on Tuesday to increase his season total to 34 in 42 attempts.

- Ranked No. 1 in the nation in strikeouts per nine innings pitched at 9.4 entering the week, the Cardinals had 10 strikeouts on Tuesday marking the 19th time this season they have struck out 10 or more in a game.

- With only two earned runs given up on Tuesday, the Cardinals have allowed two or fewer earned runs in 25 of 44 games this season.

- Louisville improved to 27-5 this season when scoring first and 30-0 when leading after the eighth inning.

- With his two hits on Tuesday, Coco Johnson has reached base safely in 19 straight games, the second longest streak of the season for a Cardinal.

- For just the fourth time this season, UofL ended a game tied with its opponent in hitting as each squad had seven hits on Tuesday. The Cardinals are 3-1 this season when the hit totals are tied.

- The Cardinals improved to 24-4 this season against righty starters on the mound, including a win on Tuesday night.

 

 

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