May 4, 2014
Junior Zach Lucas had four RBI on Sunday marking the fourth time this season he has driven in four or more runs in a game.
TAMPA, Fla. - Junior second baseman Zach Lucas drove in four runs, including three on a game-changing double in the eight inning, as the No. 8 Louisville baseball team completed a series sweep at USF and extended its winning streak to 10 with a 9-5 victory on Sunday afternoon at the USF Baseball Stadium.
Lucas (Louisville, Ky.) finished 2-for-3 overall highlighted by the bases clearing double in the eighth to break a 4-4 tie and give the Cardinals (37-11, 14-4 American) the lead for good. Senior outfielder Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky.) chipped in going 2-for-5 with one RBI and one run scored, while freshman outfielder Corey Ray (Chicago, Ill.) added a two-run single and scored once in the win.
On the mound, freshman lefty Drew Harrington (Elizabethtown, Ky.) worked two innings of relief allowing one run on five hits with a strikeout to earn the victory and improve to 3-0 on the season. After entering the game with Louisville holding a two-run cushion in the eighth, junior lefty Joe Filomeno (Cicero, Ill.) retired all five batters he faced to record his first save of the season and the second of his collegiate career.
The Bulls (24-23, 10-11 American) gained command early in Sunday's series finale taking a 4-0 lead in the second inning against Louisville sophomore righty Anthony Kidston (Defiance, Ohio). Third baseman Nik Alfonso started the scoring with a two-run single up the middle. After a fielding error by the Cardinals allowed the third run of the inning to score, Luke Borders pushed the lead to 4-0 with a RBI groundball.
Louisville answered the USF four-spot with its own four-run inning in the fourth against Bulls' starter Tommy Peterson. After loading the bases with no outs, Ray connected for a two-run single up the middle to score junior first baseman Grant Kay (Omaha, Neb.) and Gardner. Following a sacrifice bunt from sophomore Danny Rosenbaum (Lafayette Hill, Pa.), freshman catcher Will Smith (Louisville, Ky.) delivered a RBI groundout to score senior third baseman Alex Chittenden (Indianapolis, Ind.) for the third run of the inning. Lucas then connected for his first hit of the day with a two-out RBI single to score Ray and even things at 4-4.
The game remained tied until the eighth inning when Lucas struck again. After loading the bases without a hit when Chittenden was hit by a pitch, Rosenbaum reached on a fielding error in right field on a dropped fly ball by Luke Borders and a walk to freshman pinch hitter Colin Lyman (Algonquin, Ill.), Lucas sent the first pitch he saw from Brandon Lawson down the left field line to clear the bases. It was the first lead of the day for Louisville, which opened the series with a doubleheader sweep on Saturday evening.
After the Bulls cut into the deficit in the bottom of the eighth on a RBI single by first baseman Lawrence Pardo, the Cardinals answered with the final two runs of the game in the ninth on a RBI single up the middle by Gardner and a RBI ground-out by senior Kyle Gibson (Henderson, Ky.). Filomeno then pitched a perfect ninth inning to close the weekend.
Reliever Nolan Thomas was charged with the loss and dropped to 0-1 on the season after allowing one unearned run in 0.2 innings of relief. Peterson allowed four runs, all earned, on three hits in four innings for the no-decision in the starting role.
Up next, Louisville will continue its seven-game road stretch with a visit to No. 11 Vanderbilt on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., ET in Nashville, Tenn.
Louisville Postgame Notes
- With two weeks left in the regular season, the Cardinals are 14-4 in American Athletic Conference and atop the league standings with a .778 winning percentage.
- The Cardinals' 10-game winning streak is their longest since winning 16 straight to close the regular season in 2013.
- During the 10-game winning streak, the UofL bullpen has allowed just five earned runs in 34.2 innings pitched.
- Overall, the Cardinals' pitching staff has a 1.66 ERA in the last 10 games with 80 strikeouts in 92.0 innings.
- Louisville overcame a four-run deficit on Sunday matching the second largest deficit for the Cardinals in a win this season.
- The Cardinals improved to 8-7 this season when being out-hit after the Bulls finished with a 9-8 edge in Sunday's game.
- Louisville has won 44 straight games dating back to last season when scoring five runs or more including a 28-0 record this season.
- Drew Harrington was 2-0 this week earning a win in the starting role on Wednesday against Ohio State and a win out of the bullpen on Sunday against the Bulls.
- In the Cardinals' four games this week, Jeff Gardner hit .421 (8-for-19) with eight RBI.
- Overall, Gardner leads Louisville in hitting (.343), home runs (five), RBI (52), doubles (17) and slugging (.552).
- Cole Sturgeon continues to be among the nation's best two-way players hitting .307 with 41 runs scored and 16-of-20 on stolen bases as one of the Cardinals' starting outfielders, while on the mound he has a 0.88 ERA to go with a 3-0 record, one save and 30 strikeouts in 20 relief appearances and 30.2 innings pitched.