Louisville Falls to Kentucky in First Battle of the Bluegrass Matchup

The Cardinals could not overcome early pitching struggles and poor clutch hitting, as they fell to the Wildcats in their first rivalry matchup of the season.
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(Photo of Drew Campbell: Jessica Abell - The Louisville Cardinal)

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W: Sean Harney (2-0), L: Jack Perkins (1-1), S: Hunter Rigsby (1)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Hosting intrastate rival Kentucky for the home iteration of the Battle of the Bluegrass, the No. 5 Louisville baseball program could not overcome a slow start from the pitching staff, falling 11-7 on Tuesday at Jim Patterson Stadium.

The Cardinals (18-9, 10-4 ACC) fall to 3-4 in midweek games this season, and suffer their first home loss vs the Wildcats (19-7, 5-4 SEC) in seven seasons, although they maintain an 18-12 advantage under head coach Dan McDonnell. Louisville will travel to Lexington for the rematch on Apr. 20.

Both teams had a quiet first inning, but then the scoring exploded on both sides in the second and third innings. After three frames, Kentucky had plated eight runs while Louisville plated five.

Louisville's struggles with pitching in midweek games reared its ugly head once again. Starting pitcher left-hander Tate Kuehner (2.0 IP, 4 K, 3 H, 2 BB, 3 ER) and reliever right-hander Jack Perkins (0.2 IP, 1 K, 1 H, 3 BB, 3 ER) were responsible for six earned runs, and a fielding error assisted in two more.

The Cardinals did respond swiftly to avoid an early blowout. Outfielder Trey Leonard (3-4, 2 RBI, 2 2B) and infielder Lucas Dunn (2-4, RBI, BB) tallied RBI base hits, followed by a sacrifice fly from outfielder Levi Usher (0-3, RBI, SF, BB) and a two-run home run from infielder Alex Binelas (1-4, HR, 2 RBI).

Other than a pair of runs off left-hander Kellan Tulio (0.0 IP, 0 K, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 ER) in the fifth, Louisville's bullpen settled down after the early inning shellacking. Lefties Evan Webster, Garrett Schmeltz & Carter Loham, as well as righties Cam Robinson & Alex Galvan did not give up an earned run. A throwing error in eighth did however add to UK's total.

Unfortunately, the Cardinals could not capitalize much on the heightened effort from the late relievers. The only other offense Louisville could muster was a line drive home run from Davis in the sixth, and an RBI single from Leonard in the ninth. By game's end, they found themselves batting just 2-15 with runners in scoring position.

Next up for Louisville, they'll host a three-game weekend series vs. Florida State. First pitch is slated for Friday, Apr. 9 at 6:00pm EST, and will be televised on the ACC Network Extra & broadcast on 93.9 The Ville.

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