Tigers stumble in opener of American tourney

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Clearwater, FL-Top-seeded and No. 5 Louisville jumped out to 7-0 lead after two innings of play and handed Memphis a 13-3 loss in seven innings to open the American Athletic Conference Championship on Thursday afternoon at Bright House Field.

Louisville (44-13) struck early with a two-RBI single in the first by Jeff Gardner after a throwing error and single put two on for the Cardinals.

The Cardinals did damage in the second, scoring five runs to grab a 7-0 advantage. A walk and a hit by pitch followed by a single added one run for Louisville before a single by Nick Solak increased the Cardinals lead to 4-0. A sacrifice fly by Alex Chittenden made it 5-0 to set up a two-RBI double by Danny Rosenbaum for the 7-0 score.

Memphis (28-29) got on the board in the third as Jake Little’s double to left center scored Zach Schritenthal and Darien Tubbs for a 7-2 game.

Louisville stretched its lead even further in the fourth as Chittenden doubled down the left field line to score two more Cardinal runs for a 9-2 game. A bases-loaded walk added the 10th run of the contest for Louisville before a fielder’s choice by Sutton Whiting pushed it to 11-2.

The Tigers cut it to 11-3 in the top of the fifth after Kane Barrow’s sacrifice fly brought home Schritenthal, who had reached base on a throwing error by the shortstop.

However, the Cardinals answered with another run in the bottom half of the frame with a solo shot by Gardner to right field for a 12-3 game.

In the sixth, a single and two walks loaded the bases for Louisville before a hit by pitch made it 13-3.

Caleb Wallingford (6-5) was handed the loss after giving up six earned runs on seven hits and three walks in 2.0 innings. Kyle Funkhouser (12-2) picked up the win for the Cardinals, finishing with eight strikeouts and allowing two earned runs on six hits and two walks in 6.1 innings. Little led the Tigers with two hits and two RBI.