LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Junior third baseman Ty Young went 3-for-5 with two triples and a career best five RBI to lead the 10th-ranked Louisville baseball team to a 10-5 series-opening win over No. 15 Notre Dame on Thursday night at Jim Patterson Stadium.
The Cardinals improved to 20-5 overall and evened their record to 2-2 in BIG EAST Conference games, while the Fighting Irish dropped to 15-7 on the season and 2-2 in league games. The two teams will continue their series on Friday at 6 p.m., ET before concluding the weekend on Saturday at 1 p.m. Admission is free throughout the series.
Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep), who became the first Cardinal with two triples in a game since Andrew Clark did it in 2008, led the way as four Louisville players finished with at least two hits in the win. Sophomore shortstop Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa./Louisville Ballard HS) was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored, while senior first baseman Zak Wasserman (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore HS) and junior catcher Shane Crain (Lexington, Ky./Wabash Valley CC) added two hits each. Junior outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) also chipped with in with a double and three RBI while scoring once in the win.
On the mound, junior righthander Chad Green (Effingham, Ill./Effingham HS) earned the win and improved to 4-2 overall after allowing four runs on five hits in five innings, while sophomore lefty Kyle McGrath(Louisville, Ky./Eastern Kentucky) pitched 2.1 innings of shutout relief with five strikeouts to pick up his first career save. Junior righty Dace Kime (Defiance, Ohio/Defiance HS) bridged the gap between those with allowing only an unearned run with two strikeouts in 1.2 innings of relief.
For the 11th time this season, the Cardinals scored in the first inning plating a run on one hit against Notre Dame starter Sean Fitzgerald. Junior outfielder Adam Engel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Loveland HS) led off the frame with a double to left center and after moving to second a deep flyout by senior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC), scored on an RBI groundout by Young for the 1-0 lead.
Following a scoreless second inning, Louisville added a pair of runs in the third inning for a 3-0 cushion. After leading off the frame with a single to center, Ratajczak scored on Young’s first run-scoring triple of the day. One batter later, Sturgeon connected for an RBI sac fly to plate Young for the second run of the inning.
After the Irish plated their first run of the game in the top of the fourth on an RBI double from first baseman Trey Mancini, the Cardinals answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning on a two-out, bases loaded triple by Young. After singles from sophomore outfielder Mike White (East Orange, N.J./Salisbury HS) and Whiting, Engel was hit by a pitch from Fitzgerald to load the bases. One batter later, Young hammered a 1-0 pitch from lefty reliever Zak Kutsulis into deep right center field to clear the bases for the 6-1 lead.
Notre Dame answered quickly with a three-run inning of its own in the fifth when third baseman Eric Jagielo popped his team-leading seventh home run of the season, a three-run shot to right center on a 3-2 pitch from Green with two outs in the inning. The Irish pulled even closer an inning later with unearned run against Kime to cut the deficit to 6-5. However, that was as close as they would get as Louisville pushed the lead to 7-5 in the bottom of the sixth with an unearned run of its own.
After a scoreless seventh inning, the Cardinals put the game away in the eighth plating three runs on three hits, all with two outs, against reliever Matt Ternowchek. Young started the threat with a single to center and after stealing second and moving to third on a wild pitch, was followed by a walk to junior pinch hitter Coco Johnson (Benton Harbor, Mich./Central Arizona). Sturgeon followed with a two-run double before scoring the final run of the night on an RBI single by Wasserman.
Fitzgerald took the loss and dropped to 1-3 overall after allowing six runs, all earned, on seven hits in 3.1 innings, while Jagielo finished the day 3-for-4 at the plate with three RBI and two runs scored for Notre Dame.
Fans can follow Louisville baseball on Twitter at http://twitter.com/uoflbaseball and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ulbaseball.
Postgame Louisville Notes
- With Thursday’s win, Louisville holds a 14-8 advantage in the all-time series with Notre Dame, including a 7-5 edge at home.
- The Cardinals improved to 18-3 at home this season and 198-73 (.730 winning percentage) all-time in the ballpark since it opened in 2005.
- The career best five RBI for Ty Young matched a season best for a Louisville player equaling the five RBI for Danny Rosenbaum against Morehead State on Feb. 26.
- Thursday’s game marked the ninth time this season Young has finished with two or more RBI in a game, which leads the team.
- With Young’s two triples on Thursday, the Cardinals have 18 triples overall as a team through the first 25 games. The 18 triples equal Louisville’s final total from last season in 63 games played. UofL entered the week ranked fourth in the nation with 15 triples.
- Louisville improved to 11-0 this season when scoring in the first inning and 17-2 when scoring first.
- Overall, UofL has a 25-5 scoring advantage in the first inning this season.
- Louisville’s three-run eighth inning on Thursday was not the first time they have managed an outburst late in a game this season. UofL has an impressive 35-9 scoring edge in the eighth inning this season.
- The Cardinals have finished with 10 or more hits 14 times this season, including Thursday when they had 13 against the Irish.
- With no earned runs allowed in four innings of relief on Thursday, the Louisville bullpen lowered its ERA to just 1.39 in 97.0 innings.