LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Eastern Illinois upset No. 19 Louisville on Tuesday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium, posting a 3-2 victory against the nationally ranked foe. EIU improves to 2-4 on the year.
“It was a great team win,” Eastern Illinois head coach Jim Schmitz said. “We did the small things we needed to do and I am really proud of the guys. Our pitchers did well and it’s great to have Troy Barton back in the rotation.”
The win marks the first time the Panthers have knocked off a nationally ranked opponent since defeating No. 15 Oklahoma 8-6 on March 19, 2009.
The Panthers jumped on the scoreboard first, scoring two runs on three hits in the top of the fourth inning. After a leadoff walk got Ben Thoma on base, T.J. McManus singled to right field to give EIU two base runners. David Ciaglia laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position before Jacob Reese hit an RBI bunt single, scoring the Panthers first run. Brant Valach singled to center field on the next at bat to drive in McManus and give EIU a 2-0 advantage.
EIU made the score 3-0 in the top of the sixth when McManus scored from third on a failed pickoff attempt by Cardinal relief pitcher Dace Kime. McManus reached base on a double down the right-field line before moving to third base on Ciaglia’s second sacrifice bunt of the day.
The Cardinals rallied back in the bottom of the ninth, scoring two runs after loading the bases with no outs. EIU’s Keith Koser came in from the bullpen to end the late-inning rally as he earned his first career save, striking out one and surrendering one hit in one inning of action.
Troy Barton (1-0) picked up the win in his first start of the season, striking out three batters and not surrendering any runs in five innings of work. Barton walked one and allowed three hits on the day.
Nick Burdi (1-1) took the loss for Louisville, allowing five hits and two runs (two earned) in 3.1 innings of action. He also walked two and had two strikeouts.
EIU picked up one more hit (8-7) than the Cardinals and committed two fewer errors (2-0). Louisville left eight runners stranded on the base paths while EIU left seven runners on base.
McManus paced the Panthers at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two runs. Ryan Dineen also added two hits. Cole Sturgeon led the Cardinals offense as he went 2-for-4 with an RBI.