Junior second baseman Zach Lucas drove in four runs, including three on a game-changing double in the eight inning, as the No. 8 Louisville baseball team completed a series sweep at USF and extended its winning streak to 10 with a 9-5 victory on Sunday afternoon at the USF Baseball Stadium.
Lucas (Louisville, Ky.) finished 2-for-3 overall highlighted by the bases clearing double in the eighth to break a 4-4 tie and give the Cardinals (37-11, 14-4 American) the lead for good. Senior outfielder Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky.) chipped in going 2-for-5 with one RBI and one run scored, while freshman outfielder Corey Ray (Chicago, Ill.) added a two-run single and scored once in the win.
On the mound, freshman lefty Drew Harrington (Elizabethtown, Ky.) worked two innings of relief allowing one run on five hits with a strikeout to earn the victory and improve to 3-0 on the season. After entering the game with Louisville holding a two-run cushion in the eighth, junior lefty Joe Filomeno (Cicero, Ill.) retired all five batters he faced to record his first save of the season and the second of his collegiate career.
The Bulls (24-23, 10-11 American) gained command early in Sunday’s series finale taking a 4-0 lead in the second inning against Louisville sophomore righty Anthony Kidston (Defiance, Ohio). Third baseman Nik Alfonso started the scoring with a two-run single up the middle. After a fielding error by the Cardinals allowed the third run of the inning to score, Luke Borders pushed the lead to 4-0 with a RBI groundball.
Louisville answered the USF four-spot with its own four-run inning in the fourth against Bulls’ starter Tommy Peterson. After loading the bases with no outs, Ray connected for a two-run single up the middle to score junior first baseman Grant Kay (Omaha, Neb.) and Gardner. Following a sacrifice bunt from sophomore Danny Rosenbaum (Lafayette Hill, Pa.), freshman catcher Will Smith (Louisville, Ky.) delivered a RBI groundout to score senior third baseman Alex Chittenden (Indianapolis, Ind.) for the third run of the inning. Lucas then connected for his first hit of the day with a two-out RBI single to score Ray and even things at 4-4.
The game remained tied until the eighth inning when Lucas struck again. After loading the bases without a hit when Chittenden was hit by a pitch, Rosenbaum reached on a fielding error in right field on a dropped fly ball by Luke Borders and a walk to freshman pinch hitter Colin Lyman (Algonquin, Ill.), Lucas sent the first pitch he saw from Brandon Lawson down the left field line to clear the bases. It was the first lead of the day for Louisville, which opened the series with a doubleheader sweep on Saturday evening.
After the Bulls cut into the deficit in the bottom of the eighth on a RBI single by first baseman Lawrence Pardo, the Cardinals answered with the final two runs of the game in the ninth on a RBI single up the middle by Gardner and a RBI ground-out by senior Kyle Gibson (Henderson, Ky.). Filomeno then pitched a perfect ninth inning to close the weekend.
Reliever Nolan Thomas was charged with the loss and dropped to 0-1 on the season after allowing one unearned run in 0.2 innings of relief. Peterson allowed four runs, all earned, on three hits in four innings for the no-decision in the starting role.
Up next, Louisville will continue its seven-game road stretch with a visit to No. 11 Vanderbilt on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., ET in Nashville, Tenn.
Baseball Sweeps Weekly Conference Honors
The eighth-ranked Louisville baseball team swept Monday’s American Athletic Conference weekly honors as senior outfielder Jeff Gardner was selected as the league’s Player of the Week and sophomore righthander Kyle Funkhouser was chosen as the Pitcher of the Week.
Gardner continued to pace the red-hot Cardinals (37-11, 14-4 American) hitting .421 (8-for-19) with eight RBI, one home run and two doubles in a 4-0 week. A native of Louisville, Gardner had two hits in each of the four games, including a double and a home run with three RBI in the midweek win over Ohio State. In the series sweep at USF, Gardner had five RBI, including four (two in each game) in the doubleheader sweep on Saturday highlighted by his run-scoring, game-winning single in the 11th inning. Overall, Gardner leads the Cardinals in hitting (.343), home runs (five), RBI (52), doubles (17) and slugging (.552).
Funkhouser won his team-leading ninth game of the season in Louisville’s 3-1 series-opening victory over USF on Saturday night in Tampa. A native of Oak Forest, Ill., Funkhouser struck out eight while scattering four hits in 7.1 shutout innings to improve to 9-2 on the season. Funkhouser has not allowed an earned run in his last 26.0 innings pitched dating back to the first inning of his win at Houston on April 11. On the season, Funkhouser has a 2.05 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 12 starts and 79.0 innings pitched.
Louisville players have been selected for the conference player and pitcher of the week honors six times overall this season. Last week, sophomore Danny Rosenbaum was chosen as the player of the week, junior Zach Lucas was selected for that honor on March 17 and Feb. 24 and Gardner was tabbed as the player of the week on Feb. 17.
Up next, the Cardinals will visit No. 11 Vanderbilt (36-12) on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., ET in a rematch of last season’s NCAA Super Regional. Louisville enters the week riding a 10-game winning streak and in first place in the American Athletic Conference standings after a weekend sweep at USF. Following Tuesday’s game in Nashville, the Cardinals will resume conference action with a weekend series at Temple.
The University of Louisville women’s lacrosse team’s magical run is continuing with a trip to the program’s first NCAA Tournament.
The Cardinals will face Ohio State in a first-round game on May 9 in Evanston, Ill., with the winner playing No. 5-seed Northwestern on May 11 on the Wildcats’ home field. The Buckeyes earned one of the 13 at-large bids.
Louisville (15-3) secured the BIG EAST’s automatic berth after beating Georgetown on Saturday for the first conference tournament title in school history. Winners of 11 straight, Louisville rolled its way also to the school’s first regular-season crown.
The Cardinals and Buckeyes met earlier this season, with Ohio State posting a 12-11 win on March 4 in Columbus. Ohio State used five-consecutive goals in the second half that turned into a three-goal lead. Louisville managed a pair of late scores, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit.
Prior to this year’s matchup, Louisville posted a 12-11 decision over Ohio State on Feb. 16, 2013.
Of the 26-team field in the NCAA Tournament, Louisville has faced five teams, including Ohio State. The others were Denver, Duke, Georgetown, and Notre Dame.
Track & Field
Calvin Arsenault’s 400m hurdles title highlighted University of Louisville track and field team’s final day at the AAC Outdoor Championships on Sunday in Tampa, Fla.
Arsenault compiled one of the best men’s sprints performances on the day in recent school history. After finishing with runner-up in the men’s 110m hurdles, the junior doubled back and captured the 400m hurdles title in nearly half a second faster than the runner-up.
A Kitchener, Ontario, native, Arsenault’s 400m hurdles title is the first at an outdoor conference championship since Tommy LaPaille captured the crown at the 1981 Metro Conference Championships. Overall, it’s the first league men’s outdoor hurdles title since Monty Farrell placed first in the 110m hurdles at the 1994 Metro Conference Championship.
The Cardinals received a solid performance in the women’s discus from dual-sport freshman Emmonnie Henderson. Despite taking part in just her fifth collegiate meet, she finished second in the event with a throw of 49.61m/162-9. Dolly Nyemah notched a collegiate best to take fourth, and Hannah Baker picked up one point with an eighth-place showing.
Louisville’s group in the men’s discus was just as successful, led by Steve Wade’s third-place finish. The sophomore logged a throw of 51.39m/168-7 on his fourth attempt, leading the pack, before two marks on the sixth throw passed him. Freshman Codie Hamsley placed fifth in the competition, and Andrew Nelson added to the team’s point total by taking sixth.
Louisville’s 4x100m women’s relay contingent clocked a season-best time of 46.70 in the event. Taylor Bradley helped the Cardinals make a move on the third leg, and Kayla Tyson’s sprint down the final straight-away secured the win in their heat, placing fifth overall.
The men’s 4x100m relay finished sixth.
In the middle-distance events, Louisville secured scoring positions on both the men’s and women’s side in the 1,500m.
Benadate Cheruiyot ran to a personal-best time of 4:31.60, placing fourth in the 1,500m. In the following race, Andrew Stewart placed sixth in the men’s race and Jonathan Reynolds took eighth.
Before Arsenault’s first career outdoor title, Alexis Murry and Gwen Shaw placed sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 400m hurdles. Both set personal-best marks in the meet.
In the final team standings, the Louisville men placed fourth and the Cardinals’ women’s squad finished fifth. Through the three-day competition, Arsenault (400m hurdles), Tyler Byrne (5,000m), Ernest Kibet (10,000m), and Edwin Kibichiy (3,000m steeplechase) each collected crowns in their respective events.
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