Hilltoppers Drop Defensive Duel at No. 12 Louisville 3-1

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The WKU pitching staff held No. 12 Louisville (29-11) to three runs on seven hits at Jim Patterson Stadium Tuesday night but that was all the Cardinals needed to edge the Hilltoppers, 3-1.

The Hilltoppers (21-20) were only able to get three hits off of Louisville’s starter Josh Rogers, who struck out five and didn’t allow a run until the eighth inning. The freshman southpaw stymied a Hilltopper offense coming off of 38 hits against South Alabama last weekend to three base knocks.

Freshman lefty Ryan Thurston was effective in three scoreless innings, scattering three hits and striking out one while surrendering no runs. In three starts against Lipscomb, No. 18 Indiana and No. 12 Louisville, Thurston hasn’t given up a run while allowing just six hits over 12 innings.

Louisville’s offense was held at bay until the fifth inning when pinch hitter Colin Lyman delivered a two-run, bases-loaded single to put the Cardinals in front 2-0.

Rogers caused fits for the WKU bats, retiring 12 in a row while not allowing a base runner between the fourth and sixth innings. Louisville’s lead held a 2-0 until the eighth inning, when the Hilltopper offense was kick started by senior outfielder Regan Flaherty.

Flaherty led off the eighth with his second single of the game and was plated in the next at bat by Messex, who smacked a double in the left center gap to trim the Cardinals’ advantage to 2-1.

With WKU within a run the Cardinals received a big insurance run from centerfielder Logan Taylor, who executed a suicide squeeze to get the speedy Alex Chittenden across the plate to make the score 3-1 in Louisville’s favor.

The Cardinals brought in All-American closer Nick Burdi to shut WKU down in the ninth, but the Hilltoppers were able to put up a fight. Senior second baseman Scott Wilcox singled up the middle with one out to bring the tying run to the plate, but neither Anderson Miller nor Ryan Church could get anything going as Burdi picked up his ninth save of the year.

WKU freshman Sam Higgs suffered his fourth loss of the season for WKU after giving up two runs in three innings of work. Higgs struck out two and was able to work WKU out of two-base jam in the fourth and tossed a perfect sixth inning. Rogers earned his first career win for Louisville.

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