An early home-run from Louisville's outfielder Josh Stowers and a slow start of the plate hurt Vanderbilt as the Commodores fell on Tuesday night to nationally ranked Louisville, 6-2.
Vanderbilt (29-19) went with Matt Ruppenthal as the starting pitcher and while he eased through the first inning, Louisville (43-6) figured him out quickly. A double and walked batter by Ruppenthal kept the inning going and it brought up Stowers who would launch a three run shot over the left field wall. A quick 3-0 lead by the Cards would end up being enough but Louisville would add on runs as the game went on.
The Commodores did bounce back in the 3rd inning putting their only two runs of the game on the board with two sacrifice flies. A 3-2 game looked manageable at this point but the Vanderbilt hitters would stay dormant the remainder of the way.
The Cardinals pitching staff did a good job of keeping the Vanderbilt bats quiet while their hitters would continue to add runs and cushion. The Vanderbilt bullpen actually had a decent showing last night, especially Maddux Conger who replaced Ruppenthal in the 5th. The right hander showed good control and while two runs were scored by Louisville with him on the mound, they weren't earned runs. Conger gave up three hits while striking out two and walking one in his two innings of relief.
Vanderbilt only produced seven hits on the evening and once again, didn't do well at the plate with runners in scoring position. While a loss to Louisville on the road doesn't damage the Commodores, it was a big opportunity for a win against possibly the best team in the country.
The VandyBoys return to action and SEC play this weekend on the road at No. 18 Arkansas. Game one is set for Friday at 6:00 pm Central and it will be aired on the SEC Network.