LEXINGTON, Ky. - Eighth-ranked Louisville busted up an early tie with a five-run third inning, adding a six-run frame in the fourth, leading the Cardinals to a 12-5 win to split the two-game series with No. 17 Kentucky, on a gorgeous Tuesday night in front of a season-high 3,589 at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (24-12) and Louisville were tied 1-1 entering the top of the third inning before the Cardinals batted around to plate five runs on five hits in the third inning for a 6-1 lead. The Wildcats rallied with a two-run single from A.J. Reed in the bottom of the third but the Cardinals held off UK to even the two-game series in 2013. The Wildcats won the first meeting with a 5-4 result in Louisville on April 2.
The Wildcats pounded out seven hits in the game, including a career-high 3-for-3 game from freshman rightfielder Kyle Barrett. Reed finished 2-for-4 with three RBI, with Matt Reida driving in a run with a bases-loaded walk and Jeff Boehm doubling to start the seventh. Jacob Russell recorded his first career hit as an RBI in the ninth, scoring freshman Andrew Bryant, who drew his first career walk.
UK freshman starter Kyle Cody (3-2) suffered the loss, working four innings, allowing nine hits and eight runs, walking one and striking out four. Freshman Zach Strecker got two outs in the fifth, allowing two hits and one unearned run before exiting after taking a line-drive off the mound. Freshman Dylan Dwyer took over in the fifth and after allowing an inherited runner to score on a pair of hits in the fifth, worked two innings, allowing three hits and one unearned run, striking out two. After staffing the first 6.2 innings with freshmen, senior Walter Wijas took over in the seventh inning, working his 12th consecutive scoreless outing. Trevor Gott got the final three outs for UK in the ninth.
Louisville (29-7) starter Jared Ruxer worked two innings, allowing three hits and three runs, walking three and striking out one. Crafty lefty Cody Ege (3-1) came on in the third with runners on to face four consecutive left-handed hitters. Ege, the funky sidearmer who worked three-shutout, one-hit innings vs. UK in relief earlier in the year, worked 2.2 innings, allowing two hits and one run, walking three and striking out four, all left-handed hitters. Dace Kime worked 2.1 innings, allowing a hit, four walks and striking out seven, with just one UK hitter putting the ball in play. UL also used Kyle Funkhouser and Joe Filomeno in relief.
UK will return to action with a three-game series at No. 14 South Carolina, starting Friday at 7 p.m. ET at Carolina Stadium.
After a scoreless half inning to open the game, Kentucky jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Barrett knocked a single up the middle to lead off the day for the Wildcats and moved to second on a ground out. With two outs, Reed delivered with a single into left-centerfield, scoring Barrett and giving Kentucky an early lead.
Louisville matched Kentucky’s run in the following half inning as a hit by pitch would later come around to score. With one out, Sturgeon reached on a hit by pitch and moved over to second on a balk. A Jeff Gardner single into leftfield put runners on first and third. Shane Crain knocked in the Cardinals’ first run of the game with a single into left-centerfield, scoring Cole Sturgeon from second.
The Cardinals exploded with a five-run inning in the top of the third to take an early 6-1 lead. A one-out walk and single put runners on first and second for Louisville with one out. Coco Johnson hit a single through the left side to score Nick Ratajczak. Following a fielder’s choice that nabbed Johnson at second, Gardner doubled over Cousino’s head in centerfield, bringing Ty Young home from third and Sturgeon from first. Another Crain RBI single scored Gardner and Zak Wasserman capped the inning off with an RBI-double.
Reed helped bring Kentucky back into striking distance in the bottom of the third with a two-RBI doubles into left-centerfield. Barrett led off the inning with his second hit of the evening and a Max Kuhn base on balls put two on for Kentucky with no outs. The jam forced Louisville to bring in Ege. A ground out to the right side of the infield put both runners in scoring position for Reed. The sophomore executed and his two-RBI double lessened UK’s deficit to 6-3.
Louisville busted the game open in the fifth, posting a six spot on the scoreboard. Sturgeon led off the top of the fifth with a double off the left-centerfield wall and Gardner followed with a two-run homer over the rightfield fence, increasing the Cardinals’ lead to 8-3. Strecker replaced Cody on the mound after the home run but Crain restarted the rally with a single up the middle and a fielding error by Strecker put two on for Louisville. A wild pitch moved the two runners up a base. With two outs, Ratajczak knocked a liner off of Strecker and was able to beat Reida’s attempt to first and reach on a single while Crain scored. Strecker was forced out after taking the ball off the wrist and Dwyer came to the mound. Young singled up the middle to score Wasserman and an RBI double into rightfield finalized the Louisville scoring and left Louisville with a 12-4 lead.
Kentucky added a run in the bottom of the fifth as the Louisville pitching staff walked four batters throughout the inning, eventually scoring one on a Reida walk.
Bryant drew a walk to leadoff the ninth and after a pair of strikeouts, Bryant took second on a wild pitch and third on a steal. Russell scored Bryant with a single to rightfield for his first career hit.