Green in Command in Louisville Victory


Published on April 13 2013 9:21 am
Last Updated on April 13 2013 9:21 am
Written by Greg Sapp

Junior outfielder Coco Johnson’s solo home run kicked off a nine-run eighth inning while junior righty Chad Green allowed only one run in a career best eight innings as the No. 8 Louisville baseball team took a 10-1 series-opening win over visiting Elon on Friday night at Jim Patterson Stadium.

Johnson (Benton Harbor, Mich./Central Arizona) belted the first pitch of the at-bat from Elon starter Dylan Clark over the left field wall for his second home run of the season and a 2-1 lead for the Cardinals (26-7). Johnson, who was 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored, added a two-run single later in the eighth as Louisville sent 14 batters to the plate in their highest scoring inning of the season.

On the mound, Green (Effingham, Ill./Effingham HS) allowed only one run on five hits with five strikeouts while surpassing his previous career best outing of seven innings accomplished three times this season. Green faced just two over the minimum in his eight innings while retiring 13 of the last 14 batters he faced as he improved to 5-2 on the season and lowered his overall ERA to 2.15.

“I thought I threw well tonight and I could throw all three pitches for strikes,” Green said. “I think I got better as the game went on. Early, I threw a lot of fastballs and change-ups and later, it was more fastballs and sliders. I thought this was my best I’ve thrown for a longer period of time rather than just one inning or two innings.”

Overall, Louisville finished with a 12-5 advantage in hits against Elon (20-16). Junior catcher Shane Crain (Lexington, Ky./Wabash Valley CC) was 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI and a run scored, while junior outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) went 2-for-4 with an RBI, a run scored and a stolen base. Sophomore shortstop Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa./Louisville Ballard HS) was 2-for-3 with a stolen base and scored once, while junior third baseman Ty Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) singled, walked, stole a career best three bases and scored once.

Having taken their first lead of the night with Johnson’s home run, the Cardinals followed by plating the final eight runs of the eighth inning with two outs. After a walk to sophomore infielder Zach Lucas (Louisville, Ky./Butler HS) and a single by Sturgeon, Crain singled to right field on a 1-2 pitch from Clark to plate both baserunners for the 4-1 lead. Senior first baseman Zak Wasserman (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore HS) followed with a single to end the day for Clark, who took the loss and dropped to 4-3 on the season after allowing six runs, including five earned, on 11 hits with eight strikeouts and two walks in 7.2 innings pitched.

Jordan Darnell entered from the Elon bullpen and walked Whiting to load the bases before hitting junior outfielder Adam Engel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Loveland HS) to plate Crain. That was followed by an RBI walk by Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC) to score Wasserman before Johnson connected for a two-run single to left to plate Whiting and Engel for an 8-1 win. Moments later Ratajczak and Johnson each scored on wild pitches by Darnell to end the scoring for the Cardinals.

After Green and Clark controlled the first three innings on Friday, Elon broke through for the first run of the game in the fourth. Outfielder Sebastian Gomez led off the inning with a single to right and was followed by a single to center from first baseman Ryan Kinsella before scoring when catcher Alex Swim grounded into a double-play.

Louisville evened the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single to center by Sturgeon to score Young, who reached base earlier in the inning on fielding error by Phoenix second baseman Wil Leathers. Young stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch before scoring on Sturgeon’s single.