Chad Green Wins Fourth Straight Start

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Published on May 17 2013 10:41 am
Last Updated on May 17 2013 10:41 am
Written by Millie Lange

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- In a showdown to settle the 2013 BIG EAST Conference regular season championship, the 10th-ranked Louisville baseball team landed the first blow with a 5-2 win over No. 16 Pittsburgh in Thursday night’s series-opener at Jim Patterson Stadium.

With their 14th straight win, which is tied with No. 1 Vanderbilt for the nation’s longest active winning streak, the Cardinals improved to 44-10 overall and moved into a first-place tie in the BIG EAST standings with an 18-4 record. The Panthers, whose 15-game conference winning streak was halted, dropped to 40-13 overall and 18-4 in the BIG EAST. With a victory in either of the final two games of the weekend series, set for Friday at 6 p.m., ET and Saturday at noon (ESPNU), Louisville would clinch at least a share of its fourth BIG EAST regular season title in five years and the No. 1 seed in next week’s BIG EAST Championship.

Junior third baseman Ty Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) paced the Cardinals’ offense going 2-for-3 with three RBI, while junior designated hitter Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy) hit his team-leading seventh home run of the season in the win. Senior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC) and junior outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) added two hits each.

On the mound, junior righthander Chad Green, Effingham High School graduate, won his fourth straight start and improved to 9-2 overall after allowing only an unearned run while striking out five and scattering eight hits in five innings. With sophomore righty Jared Ruxer (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central HS), freshman righty Jonah Philley (Louisville, Ky./Eastern HS), junior lefty Cody Ege (Cherokee, Iowa/Washington HS) and Sturgeon bridging the middle innings, sophomore righty Nick Burdi struck out two while recording  the final four outs of the game for his BIG EAST leading 13th save of the season.

The Panthers struck first on Thursday night plating an unearned run in the opening frame of the game against Green. After reaching base with a one-out single, catcher Elvin Soto advanced to third on a two-out single up the middle by outfielder Boo Vazquez and then scored when the ball was misplayed in centerfield by Louisville junior Adam Engel.

After three scoreless innings at the plate, Louisville broke through in the fourth against Pittsburgh righty starter Ethan Mildren scoring four runs on four hits with the home run from Gardner sparking the spree. Leading off the inning, Gardner sent a 1-1 pitch over the wall in right field to even the score at 1-1.

Sturgeon and junior catcher Shane Crain (Lexington, Ky./Wabash Valley CC) followed with back-to-back singles before senior first baseman Zak Wasserman (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore HS) delivered a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third. After a walk to sophomore shortstop Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa./Louisville Ballard HS) loaded the bases, Engel gave the Cardinals the lead with a RBI groundout to score Crain. Moments later, Young pushed the Louisville advantage to 4-1 with a two-out, two-run single to left field to plate Wasserman and Whiting.

Louisville pushed its lead to 5-1 in the seventh on a RBI sacrifice fly to right field by Young allowing Engel to score from third against Mildren. After leading off the inning by being hit by a pitch, Engel swiped his 39th base of the season to reach second and moved to third on a single by Ratajczak before scoring on the flyout. The Panthers cut the lead to 5-2 in the eighth with a RBI bases loaded walk by outfielder Casey Roche, but Burdi forced cleanup hitter Boo Vasquez to flyout to right field to end the threat.

 

Austin Peay 20, SIUE 2

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – No. 30 Austin Peay scored 20 runs on 31 hits Thursday night en route to a 20-2 win in the opener of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference baseball series at Raymond C. Hand Park. It is also the final regular season series of the year for both schools.

Austin Peay improved to 40-13 overall and 20-7 in OVC play with the win. The Cougars dropped to 16-33, 10-18 with the loss. The game included a 1:03 delay in the middle of the sixth inning due to lightning in the area.

Devin Caldwell and Jacob Stewart accounted for the only SIUE RBIs, each with solo home runs. Caldwell's one-out shot in the seventh was his 10th of the year. He is the first player since Josh Street hit 15 homers in 2009, to hit at least 10 home runs in a season. Caldwell finished 1 for 3. Stewart's home run, also a one out drive, was his second of the year. Travis Becherer and James Vazquez had the only other hits for the Cougars, who finished with four.