The Cards drop to 4-20 all-time against Vanderbilt, a team Louisville has now faced eight times in the past three seasons.
Louisville faced its first ranked opponent since squaring off against the 17th-ranked Commodores in the NCAA Regional last season--in fact, U of L's last five games versus ranked foes have all come against Vanderbilt. In addition to facing VU three times in the tourney last season, Louisville also took on Vandy in the regular season (May 11), losing 11-10 in 17 innings.
The game against a top-ranked foe was the first for U of L since taking on #1 Rice in its first College World Series game on June 15, 2007 (a 15-10 defeat). Louisville's last win over a #1 team came on March 26, 2005, with Conference USA opponent Tulane the victim (6-4). The Cards actually took two of three from the Green Wave that weekend, a weekend also including a memorable comeback win and a trip to the Final Four for the U of L men's basketball team.
U of L's overall six-game losing streak is tied for its longest since dropping seven straight from May 25, 2005-Feb. 22, 2006. The Cards have not lost seven games in a row in one year since falling 12 straight times from April 6-27, 1996.
Louisville falls to 5-14 in its last 19 games dating back to the Cincinnati series.
U of L now has two six-game losing streaks in one year for the first time since the 2000 team had three separate streaks of exactly six games.
The Cards have gone 0-for-7 in their last seven bids to win a non-conference game, the school's first seven-game losing streak against non-league opponents since an 11-game string from May 5, 1993-Feb. 19, 1994.
U of L has lost three straight home games within one season for the first time since April 19-26, 2006 (four straight). Ten of Louisville's 12 home losses this year have come in non-conference play, with the Cards putting together a 7-2 record at Jim Patterson Stadium in 2011 BIG EAST games.
Cardinal hitters struck out just twice in the game, the seventh time this season Louisville batters have fanned twice or less. The two strikeouts were a season low for the Vanderbilt pitching staff, which entered the game striking out an average of 9.11 hitters per 9.0 innings, fourth-best in the nation (entering the day) behind only UCLA (10.07), Virginia (10.01), and North Carolina (9.28). VU had not recorded two or fewer strikeouts in a game since fanning just one in an 8-5 loss at South Carolina on May 1, 2009.
Louisville's lone run was just the 10th the Cards have scored in the past six games and the fifth in the past four. The single score, courtesy of a Jeff Gardner blast, allowed U of L to escape being shut out for the third time in four games (something still yet to happen in Cardinal history).
The Cards have scored five runs or fewer in 28 of their last 29 losses, including in each of the past 18. Louisville is 0-16 over the last 54 games when allowing the opposition 5+ runs.
U of L outscored the Commodores 1-0 after the fifth inning in the game, increasing the Cards' scoring margin after the fourth inning this season to +49 (131-82). For the year, Louisville is outscoring the opposition in every inning from the fourth on (excluding runs scored in extra innings).
The Cardinals took "staff day" to a new level on Tuesday, using a total of 10 pitchers in the game. None worked more than 1.0 inning, and nine finished their outings without allowing an earned run.
The five Louisville hurlers who faced Vandy's Jason Esposito in the game combined to snap the third sacker's hit streak at 27 games. Esposito came into the game hitting .413 (26-for-63) with 10 multi-hit games and 13 extra-base hits over his last 14 contests. His streak ends 11 games shy of the school record of 38, set by Ryan Flaherty across the 2007-08 seasons.
The two home runs allowed tied a season high for the Cardinals, who have not yielded three round-trippers in a game since West Virginia went deep three times in the BIG EAST Tournament opener last year (May 26).
Louisville Player Notes
With a scoreless first inning, Travis Tingle extended his overall scoreless streak to 7.0 innings and his scoreless stretch against non-league competition to 14.2 innings. Tingle has not allowed a run to a team outside the BIG EAST since his first career outing with Louisville, a 2.0-inning, one-run appearance against Morehead State on March 1. His career numbers in non-conference play include a 0.54 ERA and just two walks in 16.2 innings.
Tingle becomes the first Louisville pitcher to hold the opponent scoreless in each of his first two starts of a season--much less a career--since at least the 2000 campaign (though his two outings only totaled 6.0 innings).
Freshman Adam Engel notched a hit for the sixth time in seven games on Tuesday, beating out a ground ball to short to begin the Louisville first. Five of Engel's last seven hits have been of the infield variety, among them three bunt singles.
Engel is hitting .370 (10-for-27) over his last seven contests with an on-base percentage of .433.
Sophomore Mike Nastold made his first relief appearance since May 1, 2009, when he shut down the Ball State Cardinals over 5.1 innings, allowing two hits and no runs while fanning eight. Nastold now has three career relief outings, with Tuesday's the only in which he has allowed a run.
The big inning has been Nastold's undoing in literally every one of his losses this season, as he has suffered through an inning of 3+ runs in all seven of his defeats. Vanderbilt touched up the righty for four runs in the second inning on Tuesday on a pair of two-run jacks.
The above seven innings have accounted for 25 of the 31 runs Nastold has allowed this season. In his other 35.0 innings, the sophomore has recorded a miniscule ERA of 1.03 (four earned runs).
Nastold was the first Cardinal pitcher to give up two home runs with runners on base in one appearance since March 19, 2008, when Kentrail Davis (two-run shot in first inning) and Jarred Frazier (two-run homer in seventh) each went deep with a runner aboard against James Belanger in Tennessee's 7-6 win over the Cards in Louisville. He was the first to allow two multiple-run homers in one inning since Jon Harbridge surrendered a three-run, ninth-inning circuit clout to TCU's Kyle Dahlberg and a two-run homer to Shelby Ford two batters later in the Horned Frogs' 18-11 win in Louisville on April 30, 2004.
Reliever Chad Green extended his stretch of consecutive innings without allowing an earned run to 15.0 after permitting just an unearned tally in the fourth. In the process, Green lowered his season ERA at Jim Patterson Stadium to half a run (one earned run in 18.0 innings across eight outings).
Freshman Dace Kime tossed his third straight scoreless outing as the fifth Cardinal hurler of the evening. Kime has yielded just one hit in 4.0 innings over those appearances (.083 opponent batting average).
Kime has not pitched in a Louisville victory since March 22 against Kent State, entering each of his last games with the Cards trailing. He has not given up more than an earned run in any of the eight, however, posting a 3.27 ERA over that period with 11 strikeouts and only three walks (11.0 innings).
Junior Tony Zych recorded his seventh consecutive scoreless outing, a stretch in which he has held opponents to a .091 batting average (two hits in 22 at bats). In 23 appearances this year, Zych has held the opposition scoreless 19 times and hitless on 10 occasions.
Freshman Cody Ege followed Zych and extended his own streak of consecutive scoreless outings to 10 with one of his usual sub-1.0 inning appearances (0.1 on Tuesday). Ege has six strikeouts in 3.2 innings during the streak.
Ege is the first Louisville pitcher to put together 10 straight scoreless outings since Trystan Magnuson had scoreless stretches of 13 (Feb. 16-April 1) and 10 (April 22-May 19) games in 2007. Magnuson's 13-game stretch is the only longer streak by a Cardinal hurler over the past 11 seasons.
Freshman Jeff Gardner drilled his first career long ball in the eighth-inning pinch-hit appearance, making him the sixth different Cardinal to homer this season and the second freshman (Ryan Seiz is the other).
Gardner was the first Cardinal to smack a pinch-hit home run since Cade Stallings accomplished the feat on April 18, 2010, at West Virginia. Stallings' dinger also came in the eighth inning and was also a solo shot.
Freshman Kyle Gibson picked up a hit for the 10th time in his last 11 games and for the eighth time in his nine appearances at home this year. Gibson has an active seven-game hit streak in home games, during which he has batted .360 (9-for-25) with a trio of doubles.
Rookie Jeff Thompson did not yield an earned run for the 11th time in 15 career appearances, working a scoreless third. Outside of two short stints against Western Kentucky (1.0 IP, 6 ER on April 5) and Georgetown (2.1 IP, 4 ER on May 1), Thompson has recorded an ERA of 0.61 in 29.1 innings across 13 outings.
Senior J.J. Ethel's second-inning walk marked the eighth time he had reached via walk or hit-by-pitch over his last 12 games after he recorded no walks and no HBPs over the previous 10 contests.
Ethel's seventh-inning punchout was just his second in his last 30 plate appearances.
Rookie Alex Chittenden's two-hit day was his eighth of the season and first since April 2 against West Virginia. Chittenden now has three hits in four at bats since snapping an 0-for-28 string with an RBI double in the finale at Seton Hall.
Each of freshman Ty Young's last three hits have gone for extra bases (two triples and a double) after he doubled in the fourth on Tuesday.
Young avoided the strikeout for the second straight contest after going down on strikes at least once in each of his previous 13 games.
Making his 64th consecutive start dating back to last season, junior Ryan Wright had his on-base streak snapped at 16 games after an 0-for-4 day. Wright needs four hits to reach the Louisville career top 10.
Junior Stewart Ijames made his 46th straight start in right field for the Cards and his 30th straight in the cleanup spot.