May 1, 2012
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - The 18th-ranked Louisville baseball team turned in one of its most disappointing performances of the season in an 8-1 loss at Western Kentucky on Tuesday night at Bowling Green Ballpark.
With their second straight loss overall, the Cardinals dropped to 31-14 on the season, while the Hilltoppers avenged their earlier loss to U of L to improve to 19-26 overall. Tuesday marked the second straight season the two programs have split the two-game series with the home team winning each contest.
In the losing effort, Louisville was held to a season-low four hits and matched a season-low with just one run while suffering its second worst loss of the season. On the mound, the Cardinals wasted a terrific start from sophomore right-hander Chad Green (Effingham, Ill./Effingham HS) who allowed only an unearned run on just three hits with a career-high five strikeouts while working a season-high 5.0 innings. However, the U of L bullpen allowed seven earned runs on nine hits in 4.0 innings in the loss.
Following a scoreless first inning, WKU opened the scoring in the second with the unearned run against Green. After reaching base with a leadoff single, first baseman Ryan Huck advanced to third on a double to left center by catcher Ryan Messex and then scored as the Cards' mishandled the ball in the outfield for the first of two errors on the night for U of L.
The Cardinals answered with a run in the top of the third inning against WKU starter Ian Tompkins to even the score at 1-1. Catcher Shane Crain (Lexington, Ky./Wabash Valley CC) led off the frame with a double down the right field line and after moving to third on a sacrifice bunt by junior outfielder Matt Helms (Eufaula, Okla./Seminole State CC), scored on an RBI sacrifice fly to left field by sophomore outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS).
After baserunning outs, which included being picked off twice and a caught stealing, prevented Louisville from following through on scoring chances in the fourth and fifth innings, WKU moved back ahead for good in the sixth inning plating four runs on four hits. The inning started with a leadoff walk from lefty reliever Cody Ege
(Cherokee, Iowa/Washington HS) to outfielder Jared Andreoli, who moved to second on an error at first by Stewart Ijames
(Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) on a pickoff attempt and then scored on an RBI single by second baseman Scott Wilcox for the first run of the inning.
The scoring continued moments later when Wilcox scored on an RBI single by third baseman Casey Dykes off senior righty reliever Travis Tingle (Louisville, Ky./Cleveland State CC). The final two runs of the inning were plated when shortstop Steve Hodgins connected for a two-run single to right to score Dykes and first baseman Ryan Huck for the 5-1 lead.
Following a scoreless frame in the top of the seventh for Louisville, WKU added three more runs on five hits in the bottom of the inning. The scoring started with an RBI double by Dykes off sophomore righty Dace Kime (Defiance, Ohio/Defiance HS) to plate Andreoli and continued on an RBI double by outfielder Ryan Hutchison to score Dykes. Hodgins ended the inning with an RBI single to score Hutchison for the final 8-1 margin.
Ege took the loss for the Cardinals after allowing two runs on one hit while not recording an out to fall to 0-1 on the season. Tingle followed by allowing two runs on three hits and retiring only one hitter, while Kime surrendered three runs on three hits in 1.0 inning of relief. For WKU, Tompkins earned the win and improved to 3-2 overall after allowing only one run on four hits in 6.0 innings. He was followed by a trio of relievers who combined for 3.0 innings of no-hit work to close out the win.
At the plate, Crain was the only Cardinal with two hits and scored the only run of the night for Louisville. Hodgins led the way for the Hilltoppers going 2-for-4 with three RBI, while Dykes was 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Up next, Louisville resumes BIG EAST Conference action with a three-game series at West Virginia this weekend in Morgantown, W.Va. The Cardinals and Mountaineers will open with a doubleheader on Saturday at 2 p.m., ET before closing the series on Sunday at 1 p.m.
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