May 11, 2013
STORRS, Conn. - Junior righthander Chad Green threw eight dominant innings while fellow juniors Jeff Gardner and Cole Sturgeon led the offense as the No. 10 Louisville baseball team claimed an 8-0 win over Connecticut in game one of a Saturday afternoon doubleheader at J.O. Christian Field.
Green (Effingham, Ill./Effingham HS) struck out six while allowing just three hits and only two walks to win his third straight start and lead the Cardinals (40-10, 15-4 BIG EAST) to their 10th consecutive win, the longest such streak of the season. Delivering his second straight shutout performance, Green has worked a career-best 15.1 consecutive scoreless innings while improving to 8-2 overall and lowering his ERA to 1.73.
At the plate, Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy) was 2-for-4 with a double, three RBI and a run scored, while Sturgeon was 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI and a run. Junior Coco Johnson (Benton Harbor, Mich./Central Arizona) added a single, a stolen base, an RBI and two runs and junior Ty Young chipped in with a triple and scored twice as Louisville finished with a 9-4 edge in hits.
The Cardinals fired early in Saturday's opening game plating four runs, including three earned, against UConn (28-22, 9-13) righty starter Carson Cross. After senior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC) reached on a fielding error by shortstop Tom Verdi, Young walked and Johnson was hit by a pitch, Gardner belted the first pitch of his at-bat off the wall in right center for a three-run double. Sturgeon followed with a RBI double down the right field line on a 0-2 pitch from Cross to plate Gardner for the 4-0 lead.
With Green in command on the mound, the margin remained at four until the eighth inning when the Cardinals added a three-spot against Cross and UConn reliever Will Jolin. After Young led off the inning with his team-leading seventh triple of the season, Johnson delivered a RBI single to center for the first run of the frame. Following his 17th stolen base of the season, Johnson scored on a RBI single by Sturgeon. Junior Shane Crain (Lexington, Ky./Wabash Valley CC) added a RBI double to left field to score Sturgeon for the seven-run cushion.
An inning later, Louisville added its eighth and final run of the day as sophomore pinch hitter Mike White (East Orange, N.J./Salisbury HS) walked, stole second, moved to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch by Jolin.
After Green's eight strong innings, sophomore righty Jared Ruxer (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central HS) struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning to close out the Louisville win. For the Huskies, Carson was charged with the loss and dropped to 7-4 on the season after allowing six runs, including five earned, on seven hits in 7.0+ innings.
Following the second game of Saturday's doubleheader, the Cardinals and Huskies are scheduled to complete the weekend series on Sunday at 11 a.m., ET.
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Postgame Louisville Notes
- With the win in game one of Saturday's doubleheader, the Cardinals own a 13-9 advantage in the all-time series with the Huskies.
- With four runs in the opening frame on Saturday, Louisville increased its scoring advantage in the first inning this season to 47-12.
- The Cardinals improved to 19-2 when scoring in the first inning and 33-5 when scoring first.
- The eighth inning has been Louisville's highest scoring inning of the season and they added to that in the series-opener plating three to increase the scoring advantage to 64-25.
- Having already surpassed the previous school record for team shutouts in a season (seven in 2007), Louisville earned its ninth of 2013 on Saturday.
- Including Saturday, Green has pitched a career-high eight innings three times this season. In those three outings, he's allowed a total of only two earned runs with 16 strikeouts.
- Ranked third in the nation in stolen bases entering the weekend, the Cardinals had three in Saturday's opener increasing their season total to 129.
- Entering the weekend ranked fifth in the nation in HBPs, the Cardinals added two more in the series-opener taking the total to 99.
- Coco Johnson was hit for the team-leading 18th time this season, while Ty Young was hit for the 14th time.
- With his HBP in the first inning, Johnson reached base safely for the 25th straight game extending his team-leading streak.
- Louisville improved to 27-4 this season against righty starters.
- The Cardinals played error-free baseball for the seventh straight game extending their longest such streak of the season.