U of L Baseball: Weekly notebook

The University of Louisville baseball team is 6-2 heading into the third weekend of the season. The Cardinals will play three games this weekend at Jim Patterson Stadium. Here are a few notes from around the U of L baseball program.

CARDS PLAY THREE AT HOME THIS WEEKEND

Louisville called off a baseball game on Wednesday with Morehead State because of the bad weather. But the Cardinals will play three at Jim Patterson Stadium this weekend.

The Cardinals will host Toledo on Friday (3 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) and will play Indiana on Saturday (2:30 p.m.). Indiana and Toledo will play in an 11 a.m. game on Saturday.

U of L is 6-2 this season already and the Cardinals have 26 extra base hits in the first eight games. Last season, U of L had 153 extra base hits in 65 games.

After this weekend, the Cardinals will host Miami, Ohio, next weekend. The Cardinals are in the middle of a 17-game home stand.

The games at Jim Patterson are free.

FROSH SPARGER GETS FIRST WIN

U of L freshman Jake Sparger picked up his first career win on Tuesday against Eastern Illinois. He went 6.2 innings and allowed just four hits and no runs.

A native of Eau Claire, Wisc., Sparger has worked 9.2 consecutive innings without allowing a run dating back to the first inning of his first career start on Feb. 19.

"It's his third outing," U of L coach Dan McDonnell said. "He seemed to hit stride (against Eastern Illinois). He showed the hockey toughness in him. He took one off the ankle and fought through it. He did a great job."

McDonnell said the U of L staff will count on several young pitchers and after the first three games, Sparger is one they'll likely continue to use down the road this season.

"You try not to get too high or too low on freshman," McDonnell said. "But when you look back, he did it all fall and did it in the spring. When you work fast and attack the strike zone, good things happen."

A LOT OF YOUNG PLAYERS ON THE DIAMOND

McDonnell has a team with 16 players in the freshman class and already 13 have seen the field.

In a year after losing a ton of guys to the MLB Draft and one year before going to the ACC, McDonnell said the Cardinals need to get some of the youngsters some key playing time.

"The number one goal is to try and play well and win," McDonnell said. "But also in these first 10-15 games, you want to give guys who have worked hard an opportunity.

"Baseball is a funny sport. When the season starts and the lights are on, some kids hit a stride and some are in the opposite direction. You are trying to give as many guys as possible that opportunity now."

Besides Sparger, Will Smith, Colin Lyman, Logan Taylor and Nick Solak have all picked up starts in the field. Smith has two doubles, while Solak already has a pair of RBIs.

"We've had some guys do some good things," McDonnell said. "We've given them some good opportunities in the first couple of weeks."

A FEW CARDINAL LEADERS

***Right fielder Cole Sturgeon, left fielder Jeff Gardner and first baseman Danny Rosenbaum have reached base safely in all eight games.

***Gardner had an RBI single in the first on Tuesday and leads the team with 11 RBIs. He also leads the team in hitting at .429 overall.

***The two U of L catchers - Shane Crain and Kyle Gibson - share time again this season. The duo has combined for eight RBIs.

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