CINCINNATI, Ohio - Junior Ty Young was 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI to lead the ninth-ranked Louisville baseball team to a 7-4 road win at Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon at Marge Schott Stadium and complete the weekend sweep.
With their second straight BIG EAST series sweep and the fifth weekend sweep overall this season, the Cardinals improved to 25-6 overall and 7-2 in conference action, while the host Bearcats dropped to 11-18 on the season and 1-8 in league games. Sunday marked the seventh straight win for Louisville over Cincinnati and the 18th in the last 22 games.
Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) was one of five Louisville batters with two or more hits on the day as he added a double and a stolen base to go with his second home run of the season. Senior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC) was 2-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored, while junior outfielder Adam Engel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Loveland HS) was 2-for-3 with a walk, an HBP, a stolen base and two runs. Sophomore infielder Zach Lucas (Louisville, Ky./Butler HS) added three hits and scored once, while junior outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) chipped in going 2-for-5 with a double and a stolen base.
On the mound, freshman right-hander Anthony Kidston (Defiance, Ohio/Defiance HS) struck out a career-high seven batters and worked a career-best 6.0+ innings while allowing two runs on four hits but finished with a no-decision after making his third start. Sophomore righty Nick Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South HS), who entered with one out in the seventh, earned the win and improved to 2-1 overall after allowing one run on three hits with four strikeouts in two innings of relief.
The Bearcats fired first on Sunday plating a run in the opening frame against Kidston. Centerfielder Ethan McAlpine led off the inning with a bunt single down the third base line and moved to second on a balk call on Kidston. After advancing to third on a groundout by leftfielder Justin Glass, McAlpine scored on an RBI single to right by shortstop Ian Happ for the 1-0 lead.
After a scoreless second inning, the Cardinals pulled even at 1-1 in the third on an RBI single by Ratajczak to plate junior third baseman Alex Chittenden (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central HS). The scoring threat started with Chittenden reaching base with a one-out double down the left field line off UC starter Christian McElroy before scoring later in the inning.
With neither team able to plate a run in the fourth or fifth, the Bearcats’ threatened to break the 1-1 tie in the sixth putting runners at first and second with only one out. Rightfielder Matt Williams followed by connecting with a single to left when Louisville outfielder Coco Johnson (Benton Harbor, Mich./Central Arizona) made a perfect one-hop throw home where junior Shane Crain (Lexington, Ky./Wabash Valley CC) tagged Happ for the 7-2 putout. Kidston then struck out third baseman Devin Wenzel to end the threat.
The Cardinals followed the big defensive stop by taking their first lead of the day as Johnson delivered a clutch two-run double down the left field line for the 3-1 advantage. The inning started with Engel being hit by a pitch from McElroy, which was followed by a single to center from Young. After Engel and Young advanced on stolen bases, Johnson sent a 1-2 pitch into left for his team-leading seventh double of the season.
Cincinnati answered in the bottom of the seventh with a pair of runs to pull even at 3-3. The inning started with a leadoff walk to designated hitter Ryan Quinn by Kidston, who was then replaced on the mound by junior righty Dace Kime (Defiance, Ohio/Defiance HS). After a strikeout, Kime hit second baseman Colin Hawk and McAlpine to load the bases and end his day. Burdi then entered from the Cardinals’ bullpen and got a strikeout of Glass before Happ connected for a two-run single up the middle to score Quinn and Hawk.
Louisville moved back ahead in the eighth with a four-run frame against Cincinnati reliever Andrew Strenge. Lucas started the inning with a leadoff single to right field and after moving to second on a sac bunt by Crain and advancing to third on a groundout, scored on an RBI single through the right side by Ratajczak. Moments later Young belted a 0-1 pitch from Strenge off the top of the scoreboard in right center for a three-run shot and a 7-3 lead for the Cardinals.
UC cut the deficit to 7-4 in the bottom of the eighth while becoming the first team this season to score an earned run against Burdi. After reaching base with a leadoff double down the left field line, Williams scored on an RBI grounder off the bat of Quinn for the final run of the game. In the ninth inning, Burdi, junior lefty Cody Ege (Cherokee, Iowa/Washington HS) and Sturgeon combined to close out the win.
Strenge took the loss for the Bearcats and dropped to 1-4 on the season after allowing four runs on three this with one walk in an inning of relief. McElroy allowed three runs on 11 hits with three strikeouts in seven innings before giving way to Strenge.
Up next, the Cardinals travel to Bowling Green, Ky., for a midweek matchup against in-state foe Western Kentucky on Tuesday at 7 p.m., ET. For the third straight season, the game will be contested at Bowling Green Ballpark, home facility of the Bowling Green Hot Rods professional baseball team.
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Postgame Louisville Notes
- With Sunday’s win, Louisville holds a 94-80 lead in the all-time series with the Bearcats, including a 48-34 advantage in Cincinnati.
- At 25-6 overall, the 2013 Cardinals have equaled the best record in school history through 31 games matching the effort of the 2010 team, which went on to set school records for regular season wins (46) and total wins (50).
- At 7-2 in BIG EAST games, the Cardinals are tied atop the conference standings with USF. Louisville’s 7-2 mark in 2013 matches the program’s best nine-game record in the BIG EAST equaling the start of the 2012 squad, which went on to win the regular season title.
- Louisville improved to 4-4 this season when the opponent scores first. Overall, the Cardinals own a 30-8 scoring advantage in the first inning this season.
- With their four-run eighth inning on Sunday, the Cardinals now own an impressive 41-14 scoring advantage in the eighth this season.
- The 3-for-5 performance at the plate on Sunday was the fourth three-hit outing of the season for Ty Young. It was also his 12th multi-hit game of the season, which ranks second on the team.
- With three RBI on Sunday, Young finished with two or more RBI for the 10th time this season, which leads the team.
- Through 31 games, Young also leads the Cardinals in hitting (.376), RBI (34), slugging (.569), triples (5) and walks (14) while ranking second in stolen bases (15-of-18).
- With his 2-for-5 showing, Nick Ratajczak earned his team-leading 13th multi-hit performance of the season.
- In his 10 appearances on the mound this season, freshman Anthony Kidston has finished with five or more strikeouts seven times.
- Overall, Kidston is 4-0 with a 2.03 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 31.0 innings pitched.
- Despite allowing his first earned run of the season, Nick Burdi has a minimal ERA of just 0.53 with 36 strikeouts and just nine hits allowed in 12 appearances and 17.0 innings of relief.
- The Cardinals improved to 19-0 when leading after seven innings and 22-0 when leading after eight innings.