WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - On a day when the offense was not at its best, the No. 10 Louisville baseball team still found a way to win scoring two runs in the 10th inning of a 3-1 road triumph at Purdue on Tuesday afternoon at Alexander Field.
With their pitching staff keeping them in the game, the Cardinals (24-8) finally gained command when junior infielder Zach Lucas (Louisville, Ky.) scored from third on a RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of freshman catcher Will Smith (Louisville, Ky.), who was safe at first after the Boilermakers (6-22) were unable to complete a double-play following a 6-4 putout at second. After moving to third on a single to right by freshman outfielder Logan Taylor (Lexington, Ky.), Smith scored the final run of the game on a RBI single through the right side by senior third baseman Alex Chittenden (Indianapolis, Ind.).
On the mound, senior lefty Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky.) struck out three in 2.1 innings of shutout relief to earn the win and improve to 2-0 on the season as the Cardinals held Purdue without a run over the final eight innings of the game. Junior lefty Kyle McGrath (Louisville, Ky.) had two strikeouts in one inning of perfect relief and junior righty Brandon Alphin (Mt. Washington, Ky.) recorded a pair of outs in a scoreless relief outing after freshman lefty Josh Rogers (New Albany, Ind.) had his best collegiate outing to date. Making just his third start for the Cardinals, Rogers struck out a career best six while allowing only one run on three hits in a career-long six innings of no-decision work.
At the plate, Lucas led the Cardinals going 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored, and senior outfielder Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky.) chipped in scoring once while connecting for two hits, including a double as the Cardinals out-hit the Boilermakers 10-5. Smith added a single to go with his RBI and run scored.
The Boilermakers struck first on Tuesday when first baseman Kyle Wood sent the first pitch of the second inning from Rogers over the right field wall for a 1-0 advantage. After three scoreless innings, the Cardinals pulled even at 1-1 in the sixth on a RBI single up the middle by freshman outfielder Colin Lyman (Algonquin, Ill.) to plate Gardner, who walked and took second on a wild pitch before scoring.
From there, the Cardinals had chances to move ahead in both the seventh and eighth when they put two runners on early in each inning only to leave then stranded. On the other side, the Boilermakers loaded the bases with the two outs in the eighth before Sturgeon got a groundout to end the inning and then put two on with one out in the ninth before a pair of strikeouts halted that threat.
After Louisville gained its first lead of the game in the top of the 10th, Purdue managed to get a two-out single in the bottom of the inning before pinch hitter Kyle Upp struck out to end the game. Righty closer Mike Lutz was charged with the loss for the Boilermakers and dropped to 1-5 on the season after allowing both runs in the 10th and three hits overall in 1.2 innings of relief.
Up next, No. 10 Louisville stays on the road for a three-game American Conference weekend series at No. 7 Houston, which begins on Friday at 8 p.m., ET at Cougar Field. The top 10 showdown will continue on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., on Saturday before concluding on Sunday at 1 p.m.
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Louisville Postgame Notes
- Tuesday marked the third straight game Louisville’s opponent has scored first and the Cardinals are 2-1 in those contests.
- Overall, the Cardinals are 8-6 this season in games when their opponent scores first.
- Louisville, which won a 12-inning contest on Sunday against Memphis, played back-to-back extra-inning games for the first time since April 11, 2009. On that day, the Cardinals swept a doubleheader against Pittsburgh with both wins coming in extra innings.
- The Cardinals improved to 3-0 in extra-inning games this season.
- Tuesday’s performance marked the 17th time this season Louisville has allowed two or fewer earned runs in a game.
- With a 10-5 advantage in hits, the Cardinals improved to 19-0 this season when out-hitting their opponent.
- Tuesday’s victory was the first this season for Louisville when scoring three or fewer runs in a game after losing the first seven.
- The six innings on Tuesday for freshman Josh Rogers surpassed his previous career high of four innings in each of his first two starts this season.
- The six strikeouts by Rogers were four better than his previous high of two in two previous outings.
- A two-way player as one of the Cardinals’ everyday outfielders for each of the last three seasons, senior Cole Sturgeon was winless on the mound until this season and has now earned two victories in a span of 18 days.
- Overall this season, Sturgeon is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 19.0 innings pitched and 11 total appearances on the mound.
- Senior Jeff Gardner earned his team-leading 15th multiple hit performance of the season after going 2-for-4 on Tuesday. For the season, Gardner leads the Cardinals with a .384 average.
- With his one inning of perfect relief on Tuesday, senior Kyle McGrath extended his career-best scoreless streak to 19.0 innings.