CHARLESTON, S.C. - The eighth-ranked Louisville baseball team suffered its first loss of the season on Saturday afternoon as The Citadel rallied for four runs in the final four innings in a 5-3 decision on day two of the Homewood Suites Tournament at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
Holding a 3-1 advantage in the middle of the sixth inning, the Cardinals (1-1) allowed the host Bulldogs (2-0) to plate two runs in the sixth, one in the seventh and another in the eighth without an answer in the loss. At the plate, junior second baseman Grant Kay(Omaha, Neb.) was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored, while junior shortstop Zach Lucas (Louisville, Ky.) finished 2-for-4 with one RBI.
On the mound, junior lefthander Kyle McGrath (Louisville, Ky.) suffered the loss after allowing two runs on two hits with two strikeouts in 1.2 innings of relief. He followed sophomore righty Kyle Funkhouser (Oak Forest, Ill.), who gave up three runs on five hits with two strikeouts in 5.2 innings in the starting role.
The Bulldogs started the scoring on a windy afternoon on the banks of the Ashley River when first baseman Bo Thompson delivered a RBI single up the middle for a 1-0 lead in the third inning. That lead was short-lived as the Cardinals answered with a pair of runs in the fourth inning to take their first lead of the day. Senior outfielder Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky.) plated the first run for Louisville with an RBI sacrifice fly to center to score senior outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky.), who singled to start the inning. Moments later, Lucas made it 2-1 Louisville on a RBI single to left center to score Kay, who followed Sturgeon with a double earlier in the frame.
The Cardinals pushed the lead to 3-1 in the top of the sixth when Kay scored from second on a RBI fielder’s choice up the middle off the bat of sophomore first baseman Danny Rosenbaum. However, that Louisville advantage would not last as the Bulldogs plated two runs in the bottom of the frame to even the score at 3-3. Thompson led off the inning with his first home run of the season, a solo shot to left center, while shortstop Johnathan Stokes plated the second run with a RBI sac fly to left field.
The Citadel regained the lead for good an inning later after second baseman Mason Davis opened the seventh with a double to left center, moved to third on a sac bunt and scored on a RBI groundout by Thompson. The Bulldogs tagged on an insurance run in the eighth on a RBI infield single by pinch hitter Austin Mapes.
Thompson finished the day 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI for the Bulldogs. Righty reliever Zach Sherrill earned the win and moved to 1-0 after striking out two in 1.1 innings of relief, while righty Skylar Hunter earned his first save of 2014 after closing the game with three strikeouts in two innings of no-hit relief.
The Cardinals finish their weekend in Charleston on Sunday at 10 a.m., ET against Delaware. Live audio of Sunday’s game will be available to subscribers of CardsTV at GoCards.com.