STORRS, Conn. - After watching his teammates earn a shutout victory in Saturday’s doubleheader opener, junior righty Jeff Thompson delivered his own strong performance pitching eight scoreless innings to lead the 10th-ranked Louisville baseball team to a 6-0 victory over Connecticut in the nightcap at J.O. Christian Field.
Thompson (Greenville, Ind./Floyd Central HS) struck out seven while allowing only four hits as he won his third straight decision and improved to 9-1 on the season. The eight innings match a career-long for Thompson, who earned his seventh scoreless outing of the season. He has also struck out seven or more in seven in of his 13 starts in 2013.
Freshman righty Jonah Philley (Louisville, Ky./Eastern HS) and junior lefty Cody Ege (Cherokee, Iowa/Washington HS) combined with Thompson to complete the Cardinals’ third shutout of the week and their fourth in the last seven games. Riding a stretch of 23 straight shutout innings, the Cardinals earned back-to-back shutout wins for the second time this season. In four games this week, Louisville has held its opponents scoreless in 35 of 36 innings.
With Saturday’s doubleheader sweep, the Cardinals pushed their season-high winning streak to 11 games and improved to 41-10 overall and 16-4 in BIG EAST Conference games. The host Huskies dropped to 28-23 and 9-14 on the season. Louisville will look for its ninth series sweep of the season in Sunday’s weekend finale at 11 a.m., ET.
At the plate, junior designated hitter Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy) capped a great day at the plate by going 2-for-4 with a home run, a double and four RBI. In the doubleheader sweep, Gardner was 4-for-8 with seven RBI and three extra-base hits. Junior outfielder Coco Johnson (Benton Harbor, Mich./Central Arizona) added three hits and scored twice, while junior third baseman Ty Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) chipped in with a single, two RBI and a stolen base.
Like they did in the first game of Saturday’s twinbill, the Cardinals wasted no time in taking command in the second game plating three runs on three hits against UConn lefty starter Anthony Marzi. Young started the scoring with a RBI single to score junior outfielder Adam Engel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Loveland HS), who was hit by pitch to leadoff the game and reached third on a throwing error by Marzi. Later in the inning, Gardner pushed the lead to 3-0 with a two-run double down the right field line to plate Young and Johnson, who singled earlier in the frame.
After a scoreless second inning, the Cardinals increased their cushion to 5-0 in the third when Gardner followed a single by Johnson by lining a 1-1 pitch from Marzi over the right field fence for his team-leading sixth home run of the season. With Thompson controlling the Huskies, Louisville added a sixth run in the seventh as Engel, who was hit by pitch, stole second and moved to third on a groundout, scored on a RBI groundball off the bat of Young.
Marzi took the loss and fell to 3-6 on the season after allowing five runs, all earned, on five hits in 3.1 innings. Second baseman L.J. Mazzilli was the only UConn player with more than one hit going 3-for-4 at the plate.
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Postgame Louisville Notes
- With the doubleheader sweep, the Cardinals own a 14-9 advantage in the all-time series with the Huskies.
- The 11-game winning streak for Louisville is tied for the third longest in school history trailing only the 12-game stretch in 2006 and the 13-game streak in 2010.
- Saturday marked the Cardinals’ second doubleheader sweep of the season.
- With three more runs in the opening frame of Saturday’s second game, Louisville increased its scoring advantage in the first inning this season to 50-12.
- The Cardinals improved to 20-2 when scoring in the first inning and 34-5 when scoring first.
- Having already surpassed the previous school record for team shutouts in a season (seven in 2007), Louisville earned its 10th of 2013 on Saturday.
- With his 20th career win as a Cardinal, Jeff Thompson moved into sole possession of fifth on Louisville’s all-time list.
- Thompson’s nine wins in 2013 are tied for sixth on the Cardinals’ single season victory list.
- Ranked third in the nation in stolen bases entering the weekend, the Cardinals had three in each of Saturday’s games increasing their season total to 132.
- Entering the weekend ranked fifth in the nation in HBPs, the Cardinals added two in each of Saturday’s games surpassing the century mark at 101.
- With his single in the first inning, Coco Johnson reached base safely for the 26th straight game extending his team-leading streak.
- Louisville improved to 14-6 this season against lefty starters.
No. 10 Cardinals Earn 8-0 Win in Opener at UConn
Green pitches eight shutout innings for eighth win of the season; Gardner and Sturgeon lead offense
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, while junior Ty Young chipped in with a triple and scored twice.
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.