May 3, 2013
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - Junior righthander Chad Green struck out a career best nine as the 11th-ranked Louisville baseball team matched a school record for shutouts with a 6-0 series-opening road win over Villanova on Friday afternoon.
With their fifth straight win, the Cardinals improved to 35-10 overall and 12-4 in BIG EAST Conference games while the host Wildcats dropped to 11-34 and 2-14. The series will continue on Saturday at 1:15 p.m., ET before concluding on Sunday at 12:15 p.m. Live audio of the series is available to subscribers of CardsTV at GoCards.com.
Green (Effingham, Ill./Effingham HS) allowed only four hits in 7.1 shutout innings to earn the win and improve to 7-2 on the season as the Cardinals equaled the seven shutouts from the 2007 season. The nine strikeouts surpassed his previous career best of six earlier this season against Kent State on March 1. With his second shutout performance of the season, Green lowered his overall ERA to just 1.91.
After junior lefty Cody Ege (Cherokee, Iowa/Washington HS) struck out the only batter he faced, sophomore righty Nick Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South HS) struck out three in 1.1 innings of shutout relief to earn his ninth save of the season. Overall, Burdi has a 0.79 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 22.2 innings of relief this season.
At the plate, senior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC) singled, had a stolen base and scored once to go along with his three RBI for Louisville, which finished with a 9-5 advantage in hits. Sophomore shortstop Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa./Louisville Ballard HS) was 3-for-3 scoring twice and adding a stolen base, while junior outfielder Coco Johnson (Benton Harbor, Mich./Central Arizona) was 2-for-4 with two RBI and a stolen base. Junior designated hitter Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy) added his team-leading fifth home run of the season in the win.
Louisville opened the scoring in the third inning on Friday when Ratajczak delivered an RBI sacrifice fly to left to plate Whiting for the 1-0 lead against Villanova righty starter Stephen Ostapeck. Whiting started the inning with a leadoff single through the right side, moved to second with his 18th stolen base of the season before advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt by junior outfielder Adam Engel
(Cincinnati, Ohio/Loveland HS).
An inning later, Gardner pushed the lead to 2-0 when he hammered the first pitch of his at-bat against Ostapeck over the wall in right center to become the first player from a visiting team to homer at Villanova Ballpark.
The Cardinals added a run in the seventh on a RBI groundout by Ratajczak to score senior first baseman Zak Wasserman (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore HS) for the 3-0 cushion. Louisville added a three-spot in the ninth on a RBI single to right by Ratajczak and a two-run single up the middle by Johnson for the final six-run margin.
Ostapeck took the loss for the Wildcats and dropped to 0-8 on the season after allowing six runs on seven hits with one strikeout and four walks in 8.1 innings.
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Postgame Louisville Notes
- With Friday's win, the Cardinals hold an 18-3 lead in the all-time series with Villanova.
- Entering the weekend leading the nation in strikeouts per nine innings pitched at 9.4, the Cardinals had 13 strikeouts in Friday's win.
- UofL has allowed two or less earned runs in 26 of 45 games this season.
- Louisville improved to 25-4 this season against righty starters.
- Third in the nation in stolen bases entering weekend, UofL had four on Friday taking their overall total to 119.
- Ranked sixth in the nation in hit-by-pitch, the Cardinals were hit three times on Friday taking their season total to 95.
- Louisville played error-free baseball for the 14th time this season and improved to 13-1 overall in those games.
- With his two RBI on Friday, Coco Johnson earned his 10th multiple RBI game of the season, which ranks second on the team.
- Johnson has reached base safely in 20 straight games overall, the second longest streak of the season for a Louisville player.
- Sutton Whiting matched a career high connecting for three hits for the fourth time this season.