The University of Louisville baseball team had one of it's best defensive outings of the season and received a few timely hits to hold off visiting Western Kentucky on Tuesday night in front of 2,194 at Jim Patterson Stadium. Starter Dace Kime pitched a scoreless five innings and freshman Kyle Funkhouser struck out three while picking up the first save of his career in the Cardinals 6-2 victory.
"Great start by Dace Kime," said U of L head coach Dan McDonnell. "He attacked the zone. Zero walks, six strikeouts and he gave us five clean innings. We made two or three nice plays behind him. Adam Engel's diving catch, Wasserman's scoop at first and then Ratajczk's tough play at second when he touched the bag."
Offensively, the Cardinals registered 8 hits, with Coco Johnson leading the way with a pair of singles. Five different players drove in a run
Following a three-game skid, the Cardinals have now won four straight and must continue to play well down the stretch to have the opportunity to host a Regional. The players sensed the urgency following the loss to Vanderbilt last week and came together for a players-only meeting.
"We all came together following the three-game losing streak and had a player meeting," junior leftfielder Coco Johnson told Cardinal Authority. "I think it was the best thing for the team because we all addressed any problems that we had and started talking to each other about what we need to do."
"I think it was time for them to be honest with each other," said McDonnell. "Instead of hearing it from a coach, who is like a father figure, it's very powerful to hear it from your teammates. I think that was the gist of the meeting, that they had to challenge each other as to what they are seeing, doing and not doing."
Next up for Louisville (34-10, 11-4) is a three-game series at Villanova (11-33, 2-13) this weekend.