Louisville, Ky. – A three-run homer in the second inning was too much for Vanderbilt to overcome in a 6-2 loss at No. 2 Louisville on Tuesday night.
Commodores’ (29-19) starter Matt Ruppenthal breezed through the first inning on eight pitches but ran into the trouble in the second. The right-hander recorded the first two outs of the inning quickly but a two-out double by Devin Mann started the trouble. Ruppenthal walked Colin Lyman to extend the inning and bring up Josh Stowers. The Cardinals’ (43-6) left fielder gave the home team all the runs it needed with one swing of the bat, launching a three-run homer out to left field for a 3-0 lead.
The Dores battled back in the third with JJ Bleday singling to start the frame and moving to third on Harrison Ray’s infield single after an error. Vandy manufactured a pair of runs from there with back-to-back sacrifice flies from Connor Kaiser and Stephen Scott.
Back within a run and out for his third inning, Ruppenthal was greeted by a leadoff double from Devin Hairston. Ruppenthal looked to have the Commodores out of the inning by recording the next two outs but a Colby Fitch single to right field scored the run and pushed the Louisville lead to two runs. The Cardinals later added two more unearned runs in the sixth off reliever Maddux Conger.
Ruppenthal took the loss in his first career start, allowing four runs on five hits over four innings. Freshmen Jackson Gillis and Drake Fellows each worked clean innings to wrap up the game. Seven different Commodores recorded singles in the game as Vandy finished the night with seven hits.
Louisville starter Rabon Martin picked up the win with four innings of work. The lefty allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits. Stowers drove in four runs with two hits to lead the Cardinals.
Vanderbilt remains on the road this weekend with a trip to No. 18 Arkansas beginning Friday night at 6 p.m. on SEC Network.