LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Anchored by a big day from the offense, the No. 11 Louisville baseball team finished a weekend sweep of visiting Georgetown with a 13-7 win on Sunday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium.
With their seventh three-game series sweep of the season and their sixth at home, the Cardinals improved to 33-10 overall and 11-4 in BIG EAST Conference action, while the Hoyas dropped to 23-18 and 5-10. The 13 runs for the UofL were the most since the 13-6 win over USC on March 19, while their 19 hits were the second highest total of the season, one shy of the 20-hit performance in the 17-6 win over Eastern Kentucky on Feb. 20.
“It was good to get back on the winning side of things this weekend,” said seventh year Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell. “We did it with a little bit of everything during the three days. We had some quality starts on the mound. We played good defense at times and got the bats going today. It was encouraging to see us put it together offensively today. You have to be able to win a lot of different ways in this game. Hopefully, we’re back on track now.”
Junior designated hitter Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy) led the Cardinals going 2-for-4 with his fourth home run of the season, a career best five RBI and two runs scored. Junior outfielder Coco Johnson (Benton Harbor, Mich./Central Arizona) was 2-for-3, including his fourth home run, with two RBI and three runs scored, while junior outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) finished 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI.
Junior third baseman Ty Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) chipped in with a key three-run triple while scoring twice and senior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC) was 3-for-5 with a stolen base and two runs scored. Senior first baseman Zak Wasserman (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore HS) was 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored and sophomore shortstop Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa./Louisville Ballard HS) added a pair of hits while scoring twice as the Cardinals finished with a 19-6 hitting advantage in the win.
On the mound, sophomore lefty Kyle McGrath (Louisville, Ky./Eastern Kentucky) pitched 2.2 innings of shutout relief striking out two while allowing only one hit to earn the win and improve to 6-1 on the season. Freshman righty Anthony Kidston (Defiance, Ohio/Defiance HS) pitched two shutout innings with four strikeouts in the starting role, while another freshman righty, Kyle Funkhouser (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest HS), followed with 1.1 innings of relief allowing two unearned runs on two hits with one strikeout to precede McGrath.
Following a scoreless opening frame, the Cardinals struck first on Sunday when Johnson blistered a 1-0 pitch from GU starter Matt Smith sending it over the left field wall for his team-leading fourth home run of the season and a 1-0 run lead in the second.
An inning later, Louisville added to its lead with a four-run third inning, which included the three-run triple by Young and an RBI sacrifice fly by Johnson. After singles by Wasserman, Whiting and Ratajczak, Young belted a 1-0 offering from Smith past a diving Steve Anderson at first base sending all the way to the right field corner to score all three runners and earn his team-leading sixth triple of the season. Johnson followed with a deep flyout to left center to score Young for the 5-0 cushion.
After a pair of unearned runs in the fourth inning on RBI singles by third baseman Corbin Blakey and shortstop Ryan Busch got the Hoyas on the scoreboard, Louisville answered with a three-spot in the fifth when Gardner crushed a 3-2 pitch from lefty reliever Gino Basso sending it over the trees beyond the right field wall for the 8-2 advantage. Young, who was hit by a pitch, and Johnson, who reached on a fielder’s choice, both scored on the towering home run by Gardner.
The Cardinals kept the pedal down in the sixth inning adding four runs on five hits against Georgetown righty Neal Dennison. Gardner had a two-run single to right field to plate Whiting and Ratajczak and Sturgeon had a two-run double to right center to score Johnson and Gardner.
The Hoyas cut the deficit to 12-5 in the seventh on a three-run homer to left by rightfielder Christian Venditti, while the Cardinals pushed the advantage to 13-5 in the eighth on a RBI single by Sturgeon to plate junior infielder Alex Chittenden (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central HS), who led off the inning with a double to center. Georgetown added a final pair of runs in the ninth on an RBI groundball by designated hitter Nick Collins and RBI sac fly by Venditti.
On the mound for GU, Smith took his first loss of the season and dropped to 3-1 overall after allowing five runs, all earned, on seven hits in 4.1 innings. Venditti led the Hoyas’ offense going 2-for-4 with four RBI and two runs.
Up next, the Cardinals will close their five-game homestand against Western Kentucky on Tuesday at 6 p.m., ET at Jim Patterson Stadium and admission is free.
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 Sunday’s win, Louisville improved to 26-5 at home this season and 206-75 (.733 winning percentage) all-time at Jim Patterson Stadium since it opened in 2005.
- With their ninth win in the last 10 matchups with Georgetown, the Cardinals hold a 17-4 lead in the all-time series with the Hoyas.
- Six of Louisville’s seven series wins this season are by way of the sweep.
- The 26 home wins rank as the third most in a season at Jim Patterson Stadium trailing only the 29 wins in the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
- With three weeks left in the regular season, Louisville is two games out of first place in the BIG EAST Conference standings with an 11-4 record. USF leads the way at 13-2 while Pittsburgh is one game behind at 12-3.
- Sunday marked the third time this season Louisville has connected for two home runs in a single game and the first time since Adam Engel and Coco Johnson each homered in the 8-7 win over Alabama on March 10.
- With his team-leading sixth triple of the season on Sunday, Ty Young moved into a tie for eighth on the Cardinals’ single season leaderboard joining Bill Gatti, Jr., (2001), Tommy Barnes (1991), Jeff Burkhart (1987) and Mark Jurena (1977).
- With his 12th career triple, Young moved into a tie for seventh on Louisville’s all-time triples leaderboard equaling the total of Mark Jurich from 2001-04.
- As a team, the Cardinals, who entered the weekend ranked fifth in the nation in triples, has 21 triples in 2013, the highest total for a Louisville team since the 2003 squad had 22. The school record for triples is 34 set in the 1980 and 1992 seasons.
- With his three hits on Sunday, Cole Sturgeon earned his 15th multiple hit performance of the season, which ranks as the highest total on the Cardinals.
- With his three RBI on Sunday, Ty Young finished with his team-leading 14th multiple RBI game of the season.
- After two hits on Sunday, Coco Johnson has reached base safely in a career best 18 straight games, the second longest streak of the season for a Louisville player.
- In the Cardinals’ three-game sweep of the Hoyas, Cole Sturgeon hit .455 (5-for-11) with a double, four RBI, a stolen base and two walks, while Ty Young hit .400 (4-for-10) with a double, a triple, five RBI, four runs scored and two stolen bases.
- After matching a career high with three hits on Sunday, Zak Wasserman closed the week hitting .500 (6-for-12) with four RBI, two runs scored, two walks and one HBP.