Sophomore RHP Nick Burdi
June 1, 2013
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Propelled by a six-run seventh inning, the eighth-ranked and top-seeded Louisville baseball team advanced to the championship round of the Louisville Regional with a 6-4 victory over Miami (Fla.) on Saturday night at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Advancing to the title round of an NCAA Regional for the fifth time in seven seasons, the Cardinals (48-12) will play on Sunday at 4 p.m., ET (ESPNIU) against the winner of Sunday's noon elimination game Miami (37-24) and Oklahoma State. Tickets are available for Sunday's NCAA Regional games and can be purchased at Jim Patterson Stadium starting at 11 a.m., ET on Sunday.
Saturday's game turned in Louisville's favor in the seventh inning when the Cardinals flipped a one-run deficit into a five-run advantage after finally breaking through against Miami starter Bryan Radziewski. After the Hurricanes held their 1-0 head into the seventh, Louisville's decisive inning started with junior outfielder Coco Johnson (Benton Harbor, Mich./Central Arizona) being hit by a pitch and junior designated hitter Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy) reaching base on a line drive single off first baseman Brad Fieger.
The bases were loaded moments later when junior outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) was hit on the hand on a 0-2 pitch up from Radziewski after looking to bunt the runners over. After a fielder's choice groundball by junior catcher Kyle Gibson (Henderson, Ky./Henderson County HS) cut down Johnson at home, the Cardinals plated their first run of the day when senior first baseman Zak Wasserman (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore HS) coaxed ball four on a 3-2 pitch to score Gardner.
Cardinals' head coach Dan McDonnell then made the call of the game when sophomore shortstop Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa./Louisville Ballard HS) perfectly executed a suicide squeeze bunt on a high breaking ball allowing Sturgeon to score from third base. Radziewski, did not field the bunt cleanly allowing Whiting to reach base and keep the bases loaded. Righty Javi Salas entered from the Hurricanes' bullpen and promptly walked junior outfielder Adam Engel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Loveland HS) to plate Gibson for the two-run lead. Senior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC) put a bow on the inning by delivering a bases-clearing three-run double down the left field line to give Louisville the 6-1 edge.
Miami answered with a three-spot in the eighth inning on a RBI groundout by third baseman David Thompson and a two-run single up the middle by Fieger to cut the Louisville cushion to 6-4. However, that was as close as they would get as sophomore righty Nick Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South HS) struck out three in two scoreless innings of relief to earn his team-leading 15th save of the season.
On the mound, junior righty Jeff Thompson (Greenville, Ind./Floyd Central HS) took a no-decision despite a terrific outing in his 15th start of the season allowing just one run on three hits with three strikeouts in 6.0+ innings of work. After five dominant innings, the Hurricanes struck for their only run against the 2013 BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year in the sixth when David Thompson sent a 1-2 pitch through the left side of the infield to score outfielder Tyler Palmer from second.
Freshman righty Kyle Funkhouser (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest HS) earned the win for the Cardinals and moved to 5-1 on the season after allowing a pair of earned runs without a hit in 0.2 innings of relief. For Miami, Radziewski was charged with five runs, including four earned, on four hits with eight strikeouts in 6.1 innings to take the loss and drop to just 9-3 on the season.
At the plate, five different Louisville players had one hit each while Ratajczak (three RBI) and Sturgeon had the Cardinals' only extra-base hits. For Miami, Fieger and Thompson each had a hit and two RBI in the loss.
Postgame Louisville Notes
- The Cardinals improved to 3-0 all-time in second round winner's bracket games in the NCAA Regional at home with Saturday's win. Louisville also had wins in the same position in 2009 (against Middle Tennessee) and in 2010 (against Vanderbilt).
- Louisville moved to 13-10 overall in the regional round of the NCAA Championship. The Cardinals have a 16-15 record all-time in eight NCAA Championship appearances.
- UofL added to its school record for home wins in a season improving to 33-5 this season and 213-75 (.739 winning percentage) all-time at Jim Patterson Stadium since it opened in 2005.
- The Cardinals have won three straight in the series with Miami with all three victories coming in the regional round of the NCAA Championship.
- Louisville improved to 15-6 against lefty starters this season and 43-0 in 2013 when leading after the eighth inning.
- The Cardinals have allowed two or fewer earned runs in 34 of 60 games this season.
- Entering the weekend ranked fourth in the nation in HBPs, the Cardinals were hit three times on Saturday increasing their 2013 total to 118, a new school record.
- With his three strikeouts on Saturday, Jeff Thompson became just the fourth player in school history to reach triple digits in single season strikeouts taking his 2013 total to 100.
- Earning his 15th save of the season, Nick Burdi stands just two shy of the school record for single season saves of 17 set by Neil Holland in 2010.
- Overall, Burdi has a 0.83 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 26 relief appearances and 32.2 innings pitched this season.