As the first weekend of the Kentucky college baseball season wraps up we’ll breakdown each of the six Kentucky Division I team’s opening weekend. We’ll start with the first team to finish its weekend schedule: The University of Louisville.
- Pitching dominates: The Cards finished the weekend with a Big East/Big Ten Challenge-record 23 consecutive scoreless innings after shutouts on Saturday and Sunday. Redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung was outstanding Saturday, striking out four and allowing just four hits in seven and two-third scoreless innings. On Sunday four UofL pitchers, Mike Nastold, Chad Green, Jeff Gardner and Gabriel Shaw, combined on a three-hit shutout of Big Ten-favorite Minnesota. Juniors Derek Self and Tony Zych held Michigan scoreless over the last five innings in UofL’s friday game, meaning the only UofL pitcher to surrender a run on the weekend was sophomore Matt Koch, who surrendered three runs in five innings pitched.
- Zych proves his worth: UofL preseason All-American closer Tony Zych saved each of the Cards’ first two wins with scoreless ninth innings. Zych struck out four batters and just surrendered two hits in two innings of work. With Zych unavailable out of UofL bullpen on Tuesday, senior right-handed reliever Gabriel Shaw pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his first save of the season. If Zych and Shaw keep up their pitching performances from the first weekend they should present the Cards with one of the best bullpen combos in the country.
- Freshmen contribute in debuts: At the plate six UofL freshmen combined to go 6-37 (.161.) during the Big East/Big Ten Challenge, but if you remove the stats of freshman center fielder Adam Engel and shortstop Alex Chittenden the other four freshmen combined to go 5-17 (.294) with two runs scored and three RBI. Freshmen Ryan Seiz, Ty Young, Cole Sturgeon and Kyle Gibson each tallied at least one hit in the series. On the mound freshmen reliever Chad Green and Jeff Thompson combined to throw five scoreless innings with three strikeouts and no walks.