[Moderated by Matt Jones]
The Cards just have the Cats number this season as they once again jumped on top early and never looked back as they defeated the Cats for the second time this season, 10-2, in front of a packed Jim Patterson Stadium. Louisville scored two in the first and six in the third to put the game out of reach as one again the Cards proved to have the better and swept the season series for the first time since 1970.
Louisville got on the board first with two runs in the opening frame and blew the game wide open in the third as they scored six runs on five hits and sent 12 batters to the plate. Nick Ratajczak lead off the inning with a double and scored along with the next five Cardinal batters as seven straight reached base in route to the Cats worst inning of the season. When asked about the inning Henderson said “we didn’t respond well in the third inning, clearly, and to me that’s the story of the game.”
The Wildcats got on the board in the top of the third when Michael Williams drew a leadoff walk and scored on an Austin Cousino ground out. The Cats would tack on a second run in the seventh on a Thomas McCarthy sacrifice fly to score Jeff Bohem.
The Cardinals used five pitchers to keep the Cats offence off-balance. Starter Chad Green picked up his third win of the season as he worked three very efficient innings allowing just one run on two hits as he walked and struckout one apiece. Travis Tingle would relive Green in the fourth and work two innings as he allowed just one hit and struck out two. Luke Maile said it best, “They’ve had two guys on the mound completely neutralize our offense.”
It was another tough night for the young Wildcat arms as freshmen Sam Mahar and Chandler Shepherd combined to allow eight runs in the first three innings. Mahar threw three innings and allowed six runs, four earned, on five hits and two walks. Shepherd took over with the bases loaded in the third and allowed three runs on four hits and three walks in 2(2/3) innings of work. Henderson said after the game “that’s two games in a row we’ve hand young pitching that has not responded the way that we have throughout the course of the year.”
Again, it’s a loss to a Louisville team that simply played better and wanted it more. In the grand scheme of things it means nothing minus pride and bragging rights. The Cats eyes are fixed squarely on an SEC championship and hosting a regional and super regional round. The team will try to regroup tomorrow and Thursday before they travel to Nashville this weekend for a three game set against the Commodores, who are tied with Tennessee for last in the SEC East.
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