There are stats, especially in the most number-embued sport, baseball. Then there are stats.
Morehead State came into its NCAA opener with U of L, sporting some dumbfounding offensive numbers.
The Eagles led the land in seven — count ’em, 7 — offensive categories. Best batting average. Most hits. Most doubles. Most doubles/ game. Most runs. Most runs/ game. Slugging percentage.
Before Friday’s first pitch, MSU’s weakest hitter in the starting lineup was second sacker Braxton Morris. His average: .316. Their nine features two hitters, batting above the Teddy Baseball Line. Chris Robinson at .412, coming into the tourney, and Clayton Meyer, battling opponents from the 8 spot, at .404.
Thus there must have been an immediate tightening of Cardinal sphincters when recently struggling starter Kyle Funkhouser gave up a lead off single in the top of the first.
Not to worry, it turns out. Louisville’s ace Ked the next guy, and got out of the inning with a double play.
The Cards tallied two in the bottom of the second, plated a couple more the next go round, and fifth run in their half of the 4th. 5-1.
Which brings us to that second stat, referenced above. Coming into last night’s encounter, U of L was 29 and zed, when scoring first. That record is now 30-0.
Meanwhile, Funk, who’d been having trouble of late locating the strike zone, didn’t issue a base on balls until the 6th. And no more after that. He gave up a tater to Kane Sweeney in the top of the 4th, didn’t rattle, retired the side. Funkhouser surrendered another run in the sixth, the Eagles’ last of the evening.
U of L’s starter did tire in the seventh. Three Morehead State singles loaded the sacks with none gone. Funkhouser manned up, getting out of the inning, without giving up a run.
Lincoln Henzman gave up nothing in the 8th and 9th, as U of L’s ace reliever Zack Burdi watched the proceedings from the bullpen.
The hot hitting Eagles only found open turf six times.
U of L was led offensively by the bottom of the order. SS Devin Hairston got four hits, scored twice, had a RBI and a cleat laceration on his right thumb from a play at second. From the 9th slot, CF Logan Taylor had two hits, two RBIs and a score.
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The Cards, home team for the game, wore relatively traditional white unis.
Except for the script red L on the back of each thigh. Which looked, very cool.
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Nothing says baseball like the national anthem played on the organ.
— Seedy K