Louisville Series Draws Attention
D1baseball.com’s Kendall Rogers
. Louisville LOSES TWO TO … Arkansas State?
Take note of Tommy Raffo’s Red Wolves, because every report I’ve gotten from the Perfect Game Complex in Emerson, Ga., are very positive about Arkansas State, and perhaps that’s a team that could be a sleeper in the Sun Belt race.
Arkansas State surprised the country in the series opener on Friday by lighting up Louisville ace righthander Kyle Funkhouser, but it took another step forward Saturday by splitting a doubleheader and winning the series by taking the opening game of the doubleheader.
The Red Wolves were led by sophomore righthander Tyler Zuber, who struck out three, walked two and allowed just two hits in eight shutout innings. Zuber, we’re told, was 88-90 with his fastball, but it was his command of his multiple-pitch mix that led to his success, especially with the Cardinals playing from behind.
Louisville finished the series with a 14-8 come-from-behind triumph, but it was too late, as the Red Wolves made a bold statement and helped the Sun Belt’s profile.
Arkansas State shows itself a solid squad that can play with anybody in the country. The young team didn’t seem phased by the intensity and pressure of playing a team of Louisville’s caliber. The Cardinals are just as certain to rebound as is their staff ace and will definitely be a force in the college baseball post season.
Baseball America/Michael Lananna
(12) Louisville vs. Arkansas State: The Cardinals’ season isn’t quite getting off to the start they hoped it would. With a 4-1 loss in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, Louisville dropped its third straight game. Junior righthander Anthony Kidston (4.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) took the loss as the Louisville lineup produced just four hits. In game two, starter Josh Rogers (3.1 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) put Louisville in an 8-0 hole, but the Cardinals came surging back. Talented sophomore right fielder Corey Ray launched a game-tying three-run shot in the seventh, and Louisville tacked on six more runs in the eighth to avoid the sweep and its fourth straight loss.
“I’m proud of our guys for never giving up and showing some heart in the way they battled back today, but the reality of the weekend is that Arkansas State kicked our tails,” Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell told the team’s website. “They had better starting pitching in all three games and they had more timely hits than we did in the series. We have to get better in every phase of the game.”
Perfect Game/Patrick Ebert
EMERSON, Ga. – For the first time in the short history of the fields at Perfect Game Park South at LakePoint Sports Division I college baseball was played on Friday. College baseball's LakePoint debut started with a bang with a big crowd on hand, as scouts lined the concourse behind home plate of Field 16 to watch the performance of Kyle Funkhouser, who is currently ranked fourth overall among the top players eligible for this year's draft.
While No. 9 Louisville, led by their Friday ace Kyle Funkhouser, was considered the favorite, Arkansas State had other plans in mind, and clearly weren't initmidated by whatever rankings were associated with Louisville's team and individual players. The Red Wolves got on the scoreboard first, with a single tally in the first inning, before exploding for six runs in the third that put the game out of reach, finishing with a big 8-2 win.
• After taking the first game of the series on Friday, Arkansas State claimed their series against Louisville in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday. Arkansas State sophomore righthander Tyler Zuber kept the Cardinals bats in check by tossing eight scoreless innings in a 4-1 victory, allowing only two hits and two walks. Zuber touched 91 mph and needed only 92 pitches to work through his eight innings. Third baseman Tanner Ring jump-started the scoring for the Red Wolves with a solo home run in the second, while their three-run fourth inning was highlighted by right fielder Ty White's two-run double.
• In Game 2 of the doubleheader it looked as though Arkansas State was poised to pull off the series sweep, heading into the seventh inning with what seemed like a commanding 8-3 lead. Louisville chipped away at that lead to open the frame with a pair of runs before Corey Ray tied it with a huge three-run blast. That hit seemed to wake up the entire Louisville squad, as they then cruised to a 14-8 win to claim the last game of the series. Freshman lefthander Brendan McKay provided four huge scoreless innings of relief, allowing only two hits while fanning eight with a 88-91 mph fastball and a sharp curve.