BOZICH | "Embarrassing" Performance Leads To Kentucky Sweep Of L - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | "Embarrassing" Performance Leads To Kentucky Sweep Of Louisville

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Kentucky completed its first baseball sweep of Louisville since 2011. Kentucky completed its first baseball sweep of Louisville since 2011.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The University of Louisville baseball team spent the weekend polishing their credentials in Houston, roughing up the seventh-ranked Cougars three times in three games.

Outscored the home team 17-7. Got the clutch hits. Made the decisive plays. Threw strikes.

The sweep bumped the Cardinals to No. 10 in the Baseball America national rankings.

The University of Kentucky spent the weekend at home, losing two of three games to Missouri, the worst team in Southeastern Conference. That was several days after the Wildcats also lost to Morehead State.

The series loss knocked the Wildcats down seven spots to 19th in the Baseball America rankings.

Sounds like Tuesday night was the perfect time for Louisville to handle Kentucky?

Not after the Cardinals made four errors, committed three passed balls, hit two batters and played one very ugly baseball game.

Louisville's reward for that was a 4-2 Kentucky victory, the Wildcats' second win over the Cards this season. Mark it down as the first time since 2011 that Kentucky (24-13) has won both the home and away games in this rivalry.

Louisville outfielder Cole Sturgeon talked through a strong grimace as he described the way the Cardinals played. The Wildcats scored three unearned runs. It only seemed like four. And Sturgeon was not blaming a single mistake on the chilly conditions that had most of the 2,597 fans at Patterson Stadium wrapped in hats, gloves and blankets.

"You can't blame it on the weather," Sturgeon said. "They were playing in the same thing we are. They just outplayed us. It's embarrassing in front of our home fans that we didn't come to play."

Kentucky scored first. Louisville starter Josh Rogers hit UK catcher Michael Thomas. He worked his way around to score on a single and a throwing error by Sturgeon. Pay attention. That's the way it worked Tuesday night. Louisville mistakes translated to Kentucky runs.

The Cards (27-9) rallied with two runs in the third, but gave them back in the fourth. Kentucky scored twice on a single, two walks, another hit batter and an error. The Wildcats added another run in the ninth on a double, two walks and two passed balls.

"I'd say it was everything," U of L coach Dan McDonnell said. "Bad coaching. Bad start on the mound. Bad defense."

Bad hitting, too. The Cards were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, stranding 10 base runners.

Kentucky pitchers struck out nine, including clean-up hitter Jeff Gardner four times in four at bats. Gardner entered the game with only 15 strikeouts in 140 plate appearances. That was impressive work by coach Gary Henderson's four pitchers.

How did Kentucky handle Gardner?

"Just mixing it up," said Zack Brown, who pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief for Kentucky. "Running the ball on the blacks (the edges of the plate). Just keeping him out off balance."

"It wasn't a clean game at all," said Sturgeon, one of eight U of L pitchers.

"That was the main reason we won at Houston. We pounded the zone and made plays. Just a bad game all around."

Kentucky returns to SEC play Friday night. The Wildcats visit Texas A&M in a three-game series. Louisville travels to Orlando to play Central Florida. With a 10-2 league record, the Knights sit in first place in the American Athletic Conference. Louisville is 7-2 in the league.

"Can't get too high and you can't get too low," Sturgeon said.

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