May 13, 2011
NORWICH, Conn. - The Louisville baseball team opened its weekend series at No. 15 Connecticut with a 6-2 loss on Friday night at Dodd Stadium, the home ballpark for the Single A Connecticut Tigers of the New York-Penn League.
With the loss, the Cardinals dropped to 25-25 overall and 11-11 in the BIG EAST, while the Huskies improved to 35-13-1 on the season and 19-3 in league games. The teams will conclude their series with a doubleheader on Saturday at noon ET in Storrs, Conn. The change in the weekend schedule was made due to impending weather forecast for Sunday.
The Huskies scored single runs in the second and third innings before plating two runs in the fifth and sixth to put the game out of reach. The Cardinals scored two in the eighth inning but were unable to get any closer. UConn junior right-hander Matt Barnes earned the win and improved to 10-3 on the season after allowing only two unearned runs on a season-high six hits with nine strikeouts and two walks in 8.0 innings. For Louisville, junior righty Derek Self (Cave City, Ky./Caverna HS) suffered the loss and dropped to 2-2 on the season after allowing six runs, all earned, on a career-high 12 hits with one strikeout and one walk in 5.2 innings.
At the plate, junior outfielder George Springer led Connecticut going 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored, while four other Huskies had at least two hits in the win. For the Cardinals, freshman outfielder Adam Engel (Loveland, Ohio/Loveland HS) hit safely in his fifth straight game and finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and two stolen bases in the loss. Senior catcher J.J. Ethel (Phoenix, Ariz./Mountain Pointe HS) also added two hits as Louisville was out-hit 15-7.
Following a scoreless first inning to open the game, UConn broke through for the first run of the night as third baseman Ryan Fuller reached base with a one-out double to left center and scored later in the inning on a two-out single through the right side by designated hitter Tim Martin for the 1-0 advantage.
An inning later, the Huskies loaded the bases with no outs against Self, but the Cardinals' righty starter worked out of the jam allowing only one run thanks to good pitches and a terrific defensive play from junior Ryan Wright
(Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead HS) at shortstop. Wright made a diving stop on a groundball off the bat of Springer and threw from his knees to second baseman Ty Young
(Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) for the force out at second. Outfielder Billy Ferriter scored from third on the play, but it was the only run of the inning for the Huskies as Self forced first baseman Mike Nemeth into a pop-up and Fuller into a groundout to end the frame.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the Huskies pushed their lead to 4-0 in the fifth on an RBI double to right center by Nemeth and an RBI single to center by catcher Doug Elliott. The scoring threat started when Springer was hit by a pitch and moved from first to third with two stolen bases before scoring on the double by Nemeth. Nemeth scored the second run of the inning moments later on the single by Elliott.
Connecticut added two more runs in the sixth inning as shortstop Tom Verdi and Ferriter scored on a two-run single by Springer for the 6-0 advantage.
The Cardinals broke through for two unearned runs in the eighth inning to cut the deficit to 6-2. Freshman pinch hitter Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy) led off the inning with a single to left field off Barnes and moved to second on a single by freshman Ryan Seiz (Perkasie, Pa./Christopher Dock HS). After moving to third on a throwing error by Barnes on a failed pickoff at second, Gardner scored the Cardinals' first run on an RBI groundout by Engel. One batter later, Seiz scored the final run of the game as Wright reached base on an error at third by Fuller.
David Fischer came out of the UConn bullpen to record the final three outs of the game, while freshman right-hander Dace Kime (Defiance, Ohio/Defiance HS) pitched 2.1 innings of scoreless relief for the Cardinals.
- After Friday's game, Louisville holds a 9-6 lead in the all-time series with Connecticut. The Cardinals and Huskies are tied at 2-2 in games played in the state of Connecticut.
- With Friday's loss, the Cardinals have lost seven straight overall, their longest losing skid since 1996 when they lost 12 straight from April 6 to April 27.
- Through eight games in the month of May, Louisville freshman outfielder Adam Engel is hitting .387 (12-for-31) with five stolen bases in six attempts.
- Louisville is 7-19 when its opponents score first and 0-16 when allowing five or more runs.