Louisville Sweeps Three From Alabama

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Published on March 11 2013 11:00 am
Last Updated on March 11 2013 11:00 am
Written by Millie Lange

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Junior outfielder Cole Sturgeon’s one-out bases loaded walk in the bottom of the 14th inning scored junior leadoff hitter Adam Engel to lift the fifth-ranked Louisville baseball team to a 4-3 triumph over visiting Alabama in Friday’s series-opener at Jim Patterson Stadium.

The 14 innings were the most ever played by the Cardinals (10-2) at Jim Patterson Stadium, which opened during the 2005 season, surpassing Louisville’s 9-8 win in 13 innings over Western Kentucky on April 25, 2005. The walk-off win for Louisville was its first of the season and the first since March 4, 2011 when they earned a 3-2 win in 11 innings against Kent State at home.

Engel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Loveland HS), who was 2-for-6 with a double, two stolen bases and two runs scored in the win, started the decisive 14th frame when he was hit by a 1-0 pitch from Alabama (8-5) reliever Jay Shaw. After moving to second with his team-leading 15th stolen base of the season, Engel moved to third on a groundout to the right side by senior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC). After junior outfielder Coco Johnson (Benton Harbor, Mich./Central Arizona) was hit by a pitch and junior infielder Ty Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) was intentionally walked to load the bases, Sturgeon took ball four low and outside on a 3-1 pitch from Shaw to plate Engel for the game-winner.

Junior righty Chad Green (Effingham, Ill./Effingham HS) started the day for Louisville allowing the trio of unearned runs, all in the second inning, while giving up five hits to go with five strikeouts in seven strong innings. He was followed out of the bullpen by freshman righty Anthony Kidston (Defiance, Ohio/Defiance HS), who struck out five while allowing only two hits in three shutout innings of relief. Sophomore righty Nick Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South HS) took over from there with three more shutout innings of relief striking out a career-best seven and allowing only one hit before McGrath pitched the final inning for the Cardinals.

Saturday's Game

It doesn’t matter whether the game is epic in scope or a conventional contest: The Louisville baseball team’s pitching staff has delivered this season and particularly over the first two outings against visiting Alabama.

The latest marquee pitching performance came Saturday in a brilliant dual effort from Jeff Thompson and Dace Kime, as the duo combined to hold the Crimson Tide to a mere two hits in the fifth-ranked Cardinals’ crisp, series-clinching 6-0 victory in front of a record March crowd at Jim Patterson Stadium.

Louisville’s pitching staff collected its third shutout of the season and, with nine scoreless innings Saturday, has blanked Alabama over the last 21 innings spanning back to the second inning of Friday’s epic 14-inning, 4-3 win over the Tide (8-6). The Cardinals (11-2) have yet to yield an earned run in the series, which concludes at 1 p.m., ET on Sunday, and have not given up an earned run in 26 consecutive innings.

Sunday's Game

Junior infielder Ty Young belted a game-winning RBI single to right center to plate sophomore infielder Sutton Whiting in the 10th inning and lift the fifth-ranked Louisville baseball to an 8-7 win over visiting Alabama and complete the sweep of the three-game series.

Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) connected on a 2-1 pitch from Alabama reliever Taylor Wolfe for his second hit of the day as the Cardinals (12-2) earned their second walk-off win of the weekend in front of a season-high crowd of 3,240.

The decisive 10th inning started with Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa./Louisville Ballard HS) earning a leadoff walk from Alabama reliever Mitch Greer. After moving to second on a bunt single by junior outfielder Adam Engel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Loveland HS) of Crimson Tide reliever Tucker Hawley, Whiting advanced to third on a bunt sacrifice by senior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC). Junior outfielder Coco Johnson (Benton Harbor, Mich./Central Arizona) was then intentionally walked to load the bases and set the stage for Young’s game-winning hit.