May 11, 2014
Kyle Gibson had three hits and one drove in a run as the Cardinals reached 40 wins for the seventh time in eight seasons.
CAMDEN, N.J. - Scoring two runs in the 11th inning, the fifth-ranked Louisville baseball team returned to its winning ways with a 6-4 series-clinching road victory over Temple on Sunday afternoon at Campbell's Field.
After their 12-game winning streak was halted on Saturday, the Cardinals (40-12, 16-5 American) bounced back to clinch their third straight series triumph and remain tied for first atop the American Conference standings. Louisville also clinched its seventh 40-win season in eight years under the guidance of head coach Dan McDonnell, who is 349-154 with the Cardinals.
With the game even at 4-4, Louisville gained control in the 11th when senior third baseman Alex Chittenden (Indianapolis, Ind.), who started the inning with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior catcher Kyle Gibson (Henderson, Ky.), stole third before scoring after the throw by Temple (13-29, 8-13) catcher Michael D'Acunti sailed over the head of third baseman Frank D'Agostino and into left field. Later in the inning, the Cardinals added an insurance run when junior Mike White (East Orange, N.J.), pinch running for freshman Will Smith (Louisville, Ky.) after he reached on another error by the Owls, scored from third on a two-out, RBI bunt by junior second baseman Zach Lucas (Louisville, Ky.).
The victory was locked down by junior righty Nick Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill.), who closed a strong performance by the Louisville bullpen by striking out six in three innings of perfect relief for to earn the win and improve to 3-1 on the season. Including the work from Burdi, who lowered his ERA 0.59 and has 53 strikeouts in 30.2 innings of relief this season, the bullpen finished with 11 strikeouts and allowed only one hit and in 6.2 innings of shutout relief.
At the plate, Gibson finished 3-of-5 with a RBI and a stolen base, while Chittenden was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Senior outfielder Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky.) was 2-for-5 with his team-leading seventh home run and two runs driven in, while senior outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky.) added a home run and a single in the win. Lucas chipped in with two hits and one RBI and freshman outfielder Colin Lyman (Algonquin, Ill.) had two hits, a stolen base and a run scored.
Louisville opened the scoring on Sunday when Gardner delivered a two-out, RBI single to center to score Lyman for a 1-0 lead in the first. The advantage was increased to 2-0 in the top of the third inning later after Gardner sent a 1-1 offering from Temple starter Ryan Kuehn over the wall in right center for a solo home run and a 2-0 cushion.
That lead was short-lived as the Owls charged ahead in the bottom of the third inning after catcher Michael D'Acunti powered a 1-1 pitch from sophomore righty Anthony Kidston (Defiance, Ohio) over the right field wall for a two-out, three-run homer. Walks to outfielders David Hall and Bobby Heitzman preceded the home run for Temple.
Louisville pulled even at 3-3 in the fourth inning when Sturgeon crushed a 1-0 pitch from Kuehn sending it out of the ballpark in right field for his second home run of the season and the fourth of his career. After Temple moved back ahead in the fifth inning at 4-3 on a RBI groundball off the bat of Jimmy Kerrigan, the Cardinals tied the game in the seventh on a two-out, RBI single up the middle by Gibson to score senior first baseman Grant Kay (Omaha, Neb.).
The score remained even at 4-4 until Louisville plated the final two runs of the day in the 11th inning. Reliever Tim McCarthy was charged with the loss for the Owls and dropped to 3-3 on the season after allowing the two unearned runs in the 11th inning.
Up next, Louisville will begin a four-game homestand in the final week of the regular season with a visit from No. 9 Indiana on Tuesday at 6 p.m., ET at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Louisville Postgame Notes
- With one week remaining in the regular season, Louisville is tied with UCF atop the American Conference standings with a 16-5 mark.
- Sunday marked the sixth extra-inning game this season for the Cardinals, who improved to 5-1 in those contests.
- UofL has played an extra-inning game in four of its seven conference series, including three of the last four.
- Louisville improved to 28-3 this season when scoring first and 16-2 when scoring in the first inning.
- The Cardinals improved to 30-2 this season when out-hitting their opponent, which they did on Sunday 13-5.
- Louisville had two home runs on Sunday marking the first time they have finished with multiple homers in a single game since March 14 against Samford.
- Nick Burdi completed a strong week on the mound for the Cardinals as he made three scoreless appearances contributing in each of the Cardinals' three wins. He had 13 strikeouts with no walks and allowed only one hit in six innings of shutout relief in the trio of outings on the mound.
- Alex Chittenden led the way at the this week for Louisville hitting .500 (6-for-12) with a home run, two doubles, three RBI, four runs scored, a .667 on-base percentage and a .917 slugging percentage.
- Jeff Gardner has homered in back-to-back games becoming the second Louisville player to do that this season joining Zach Lucas who had home runs in the fourth (Feb. 19 vs. EKU) and fifth (Feb. 21 vs. Western Michigan) games this season.