LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Junior right-hander Chad Green pitched six strong innings while the offense erupted for its fourth double-digit scoring effort of the season as the fourth-ranked Louisville baseball team earned a 14-2 series-opening win over Kent State on Friday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Green (Effingham, Ill./Effingham HS) allowed just one run on six hits with a career-best six strikeouts in six innings to win his second straight start and improve to 2-1 on the season. In his three Friday starts this season, Green has a 1.59 ERA (three earned runs in 17.0 innings) with 11 strikeouts.
At the plate, seven different Louisville hitters finished with two hits as the Cardinals (8-1) won for the eighth straight time matching the longest winning streak since they won eight consecutive games from April 11-24 during the 2010 season. UofL finished with 17 hits on Friday for their second highest total of the season.
Junior designated hitter Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield HS) led the way for Louisville going 2-for-4 with a triple, three RBI and a run scored, while sophomore infielder Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa./Louisville Ballard HS) was 2-for-4 with a triple, three RBI and two runs. The Cardinals also got two hits and two RBI from outfielder Adam Engel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Loveland HS), while senior outfielder Matt Helms (Eufaula, Okla./Seminole State CC), senior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC), junior catcher Shane Crain (Lexington, Ky./Wabash Valley CC) and freshman infielder Danny Rosenbaum (Lafayette Hill, Pa./Plymouth Whitemarsh HS) each had two hits and an RBI in the win.
Louisville jumped on Kent State (1-8) starter Tyler Skulina early on Friday scoring five runs on six hits in the first inning. Engel started the inning with an infield single, moved to second with his 13th stolen base in 13 attempts this season and advanced to third on a single by Ratajczak before scoring on an RBI sac fly by junior outfielder Coco Johnson (Benton Harbor, Mich./Central Arizona). The scoring continued with an RBI single by Rosenbaum, an RBI groundout by Gardner and RBI doubles by Helms and Crain.
After a scoreless second inning, the Cardinals took their advantage to double-digits plating seven runs on five hits in the third. After junior third baseman Ty Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) walked and Rosenbaum singled, both scored on a two-run triple by Gardner for the 7-0 lead. Later in the inning, Whiting rifled a Skulina offering down the right field for a three-run triple plating Gardner, Helms and Crain. Ratajczak added an RBI single and Johnson chipped in with an RBI double as Louisville sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning.
After the Golden Flashes plated their first run of the game with an RBI single from second baseman Sawyer Polen in the top of the fourth inning, the Cardinals added two more runs in the bottom of the frame on a two-run single through the left side by Engel. Kent State added the final run of the day on another RBI single from Polen in the eighth inning.
Following Green’s six innings, freshman righty Jordan Simons (Crestwood, Ky./South Oldham HS) pitched two innings allowing one run on three hits with a strikeouts, while sophomore righty Brandon Alphin (Mt. Washington, Ky./Bullitt East HS) pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the Cardinals. For Kent State, Skulina took the loss and dropped to 0-1 on the season after allowing 11 runs, all earned, on nine hits with three walks in 2.0+ innings.
The Cardinals and Golden Flashes will resume their weekend series on Saturday at 1 p.m., ET at Jim Patterson Stadium and admission is free. The weekend set will conclude on Sunday at 1 p.m., ET.
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Postgame Louisville Notes
- With Friday’s win, Louisville improved its record to 14-11 all-time against Kent State. The Cardinals have won five straight in the series and seven of the last eight.
- Louisville improved to 6-0 at home this season and moved to 186-70 (.726 winning percentage) all-time at Jim Patterson Stadium since it opened in 2005.
- With its five-run first inning and seven-run third inning, Louisville has scored five or more runs in an inning six times this season.
- The seven-run frame in the third was the Cardinals’ highest scoring inning since plating seven runs in the ninth inning against Indiana on April 17, 2012.
- Through nine games this season, Louisville has connected for 10 or more hits six times, including the second-highest total of the season on Friday with 17.
- The Cardinals hold a 25-4 scoring advantage over their opponents in the first two innings this season, including a 16-3 edge in the first inning.
- After matching the eight-game winning streak from midseason in 2010 with their win on Friday, a victory on Saturday would give the Cardinals their longest winning streak (nine) since they won 13 straight to open the 2010 season.
- During the current winning streak, seven of the Cardinals’ eight wins have been by five runs or more, including five of at least eight runs.
- After entering the game among the nation’s best in stolen bases as a team, the Cardinals finished with their second lowest total of the season successfully stealing on each of their two attempts on Friday. Overall, Louisville is 41-50 on stolen bases this season.