Louisville Baseball doubleheader recap at USF

Louisville Baseball doubleheader recap at USF

Louisville Baseball doubleheader recap at USF


by WHAS11.com


Posted on May 4, 2014 at 10:39 PM

TAMPA, Fla. - On a night highlighted by dramatic plays and momentum shifts, senior Cole Sturgeon proved to be a pivotal player with his work on the mound and at the plate as the No. 8 Louisville baseball team completed a doubleheader sweep of USF with a 3-2 victory in 11 innings on Saturday night at the USF Baseball Stadium.

Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky.) was 2-for-4 at the plate with a triple and two runs scored, including the game-winner in the 11th inning, while also working 2.2 innings of scoreless relief with three strikeouts to earn the win on the mound and improve to 3-0 on the season. Senior outfielder Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky.) chipped in going 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI, including driving in the game-winner, while junior first baseman Grant Kay (Omaha, Neb.) added a game-changing ninth inning home run for the Cardinals (36-11, 13-4 American), who extended their winning streak to a season-high nine games.

After Louisville regained the lead in the top of the 11th on the RBI single by Gardner to score Sturgeon, junior righty Nick Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill.) completed a rare feat earning his second save of the day while closing out both ends of the doubleheader sweep. With a scoreless 11th inning, Burdi earned his 12th save of the season and the 27th of his impressive collegiate career.

“We only have so many games left in this season and in the career for some of us, so we want to make all of them count,” explained Sturgeon after the game. “It was a long day at the ballpark, but we got two big wins and we have another one to get ready for tomorrow.”

Saturday’s second game started with dominate pitching as junior Jared Ruxer (Indianapolis, Ind.) of the Cardinals and sophomore righty Jimmy Herget of the Bulls (24-22, 10-10) controlled the first three innings. Louisville then struck first in the fourth inning when Gardner connected for a RBI double down the right field line to score Sturgeon, who singled up the middle to begin the inning.

With a 1-0 lead in hand, Ruxer was dominant striking out eight batters overall and scattering five hits with one walk in seven shutout innings. However, the dependable righty did not earn his eighth win of the season after the Bulls followed his eighth inning departure by scoring two runs in the bottom of the inning. A bases loaded RBI fielder’s choice by Luke Borders scored pinch runner Luke Maglich to even the score at 1-1 before a Louisville fielding error on a two-out groundball up the middle allowed outfielder Austin Luck to score the go-ahead run.

With Herget in the lead and in pursuit of his second complete game of the season on the mound, Kay provided the next momentum swing when he crushed a 1-1, one-out offering sending it over the wall in left for his fifth home run of the season. The towering shot into the left field palm trees pulled Louisville even at 2-2.Sturgeon followed the home run by working a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth inning on the mound to send the game into extra innings.

After the Cardinals went down in order in the top of the 10th inning, it appeared the Bulls would even the series and setup a rubber-game for Sunday afternoon after loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the frame. A leadoff walk to third baseman Vincent Miniet followed by a an HBP to Luck and an infield single from shortstop Kyle Teaf put the game-winning run just 90 feet away. That’s when Sturgeon found another level with three straight strikeouts of designated hitter Luke Borders, outfielder Daniel Portales and outfielder Hayden Kelley to end the threat and send the game into the 11th inning.

“I wasn’t going to give in after they loaded the bases and it worked out for us,” said Sturgeon on that 10th inning escape. “I made some pitches and had to bear down a little bit and it worked because we got out of it.”

As fate would have it, Sturgeon led off the game-changing 11th inning with a stinging triple down the right field line off USF lefty reliever Lawrence Pardo. One batter later, Gardner belted a 2-1 offering through the right side of the drawn-in infield for his fourth RBI of the doubleheader on the single to right field. That plated Sturgeon, who scored three runs in the two games on Saturday before giving way to Burdi on the mound for the bottom of the 11th inning.

“You can’t script the ending much better than it went for me and for the team tonight,” said Sturgeon. “I got a pitch I could handle and I put a good swing on it. I knew my teammates would do what was needed to score me from third and Jeff (Gardner) delivered another big hit for our team.”

Having already closed out game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, Burdi hit catcher Levi Borders to start the bottom of the 11th before retiring the next three hitters in the inning to complete the victory. Borders eventually reached third with two outs in the inning before Burdi struck out Miniet to end the game.

Pardo was charged with the loss and dropped to 1-1 on the season after allowing one run on two hits with four strikeouts in two innings of relief. Herget finished with a no-decision after allowing two runs on five hits with 13 strikeouts and just one walk in 8.1 innings.

The Cardinals will look for the series sweep of the Bulls on Sunday at 1 p.m., ET.

Fans can follow Louisville baseball on Twitter (@UofLBaseball) at http://twitter.com/uoflbaseball and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ulbaseball.

Louisville Postgame Notes
- The nine-game winning streak for the Cardinals is their longest since closing the 2013 regular season with 16 straight victories.

- Louisville has allowed two or fewer earned runs in 29 of 47 games this season, including all nine in the current winning streak.

- During the nine-game winning streak, the UofL bullpen has allowed just four earned runs in 30.2 innings pitched.

- The Cardinals improved to 7-7 this season when being out-hit after the Bulls finished with an 8-7 edge in Saturday’s second game.

- After starting at 5 p.m., ET, Saturday’s doubleheader required seven hours to complete after the second game reached its conclusion at midnight.

- Saturday marked Louisville’s fifth doubleheader of the season.

- The Cardinals improved to 4-1 in extra-inning games this season.

- In Saturday’s doubleheader, Cole Sturgeon made two relief appearances with 3.1 innings of shutout work on the mound while scoring three of the Cardinals’ six runs.

- Following Saturday’s action, Sturgeon has played in 213 career games for the Cardinals moving into ninth place all-time at Louisville.

- Sturgeon also earned his sixth triple of the season moving him into a tie for ninth on the Cardinals’ single season leaderboard with Bill Gatti, Jr. (2001), Tommy Barnes (1991), Jeff Burkhart (1987) and Mark Jurena (1977).

- Jeff Gardner hit .400 (4-for-10) at the plate in the doubleheader and drove in four of Louisville’s six runs.

- Gardner connected for his 50th career double with the Cardinals moving him into sole possession of eighth place all-time at Louisville.

- The 12 saves for Nick Burdi in 2014 move him into a tie for fourth on the Cardinals’ single season leaderboard equaling the total of Carlos Fernandez in 2003.

GAME 1: No. 8 Louisville Wins Opener at USF, 3-1
Funkhouser strikes out eight in 7.1 shutout innings for the win; Gardner delivers pivotal two-run single


TAMPA, Fla. - Behind eight strikeouts from righty Kyle Funkhouser on the mound and a pivotal two-run single from outfielder Jeff Gardner, the No. 8 Louisville baseball team earned a 3-1 series-opening win over USF on Saturday evening.

After Friday’s scheduled series-opener was postponed due to rain, the Cardinals (35-11, 12-4 American) extended their winning streak to a season-high eight games with the victory in the first game of a doubleheader at USF Baseball Stadium. Funkhouser (Oak Forest, Ill.) was dominant scattering four hits in 7.1 shutout innings to go along with the eight strikeouts to earn the win and improve to 9-2 on the season. It was also the 14th career collegiate victory for the 6-2, hard-throwing sophomore.

Gardner (Louisville, Ky.) provided the biggest hit of the game for Louisville connecting for a two-run single in the fifth inning against USF (24-21, 10-9 American) starter Casey Mulholland to give break-up a scoreless tie and give the Cardinals a lead they would never relinquish. The senior captain finished 2-for-5 overall at the plate, while senior third baseman Alex Chittenden (Indianapolis, Ind.) chipped in with a seventh inning RBI single for insurance in the win. Junior first baseman Grant Kay (Omaha, Neb.) finished 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored as Louisville finished with a 7-6 edge in hits.

After senior lefty Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky.) recorded the final two outs of the eighth inning on one pitch with a 6-4-3 double-play, junior righty Nick Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill.) earned his 11th save of the season striking out two and allowing one run in the ninth inning. It was the 27th career save for Burdi, who continues to add to his school record total.

Mulholland was charged with his first loss of the season and dropped to 4-1 overall after allowing two runs on five hits and six walks in 5.2 innings for the Bulls. Shortstop Kyle Teaf drove in the only run of the game for USF with his ninth inning single, while third baseman Nik Alfonso was 1-for-2 with a run scored.

Fans can follow Louisville baseball on Twitter (@UofLBaseball) at http://twitter.com/uoflbaseball and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ulbaseball.