A career-high six strikeouts by righty Jeff Ciocco highlighted the night for WKU Baseball, who lost to No. 2 Louisville by a score of 11-1 on Tuesday evening at Jim Patterson Stadium. Colie Currie added a hit for the 12th time in 13 games, lacing a triple and scoring the Hilltoppers’ run in the third inning.
Ciocco relived starter Caleb Bruner to begin the second frame and went 3.2 innings on 79 pitches. He allowed four runs on eight hits, but also added his half-dozen punch outs, including one of the swinging variety against Two-Time First Team All-American Brendan McKay to end the second and keep the WKU deficit at 3-0.
Currie led off the third with his team-leading second three-bagger of the season down the right-field line, and scored on a productive ground out by Kevin Lambert to the Louisville second baseman. But the Cardinals scored the final eight runs of the game to push the final score to 11-1.
By striking out designated hitter Brendan McKay, Jeff Ciocco has faced – and set down on strikes – two of the most feared hitters in college baseball. McKay and Vanderbilt outfielder Jeren Kendall are expected to go in the top 10 of the 2017 MLB Draft, and the freshman from New Jersey has struck out both swinging in midweek action.
Along with Ciocco’s 3.2 innings, Michael Hicks completed one, Bailey Sutton had 1.2, Brett Vansant got the last two outs of the game and Caleb Bruner started it off with the first three outs. Although Vansant allowed one inherited runner to score, he got out has worked four innings in his past four outings and allowed only one earned run with four strikeouts.
Steven Kraft went 2-for-3 in the game, posting the lone multi-hit game for the Hilltoppers. It was his ninth game of two-plus hits this season – tying him with Colie Currie for second-most on the club – and the 31st such performance of his career.
Play of the Day
With one run in for the Cardinals in the first inning and the bases loaded, Louisville’s Devin Mann stepped in against Caleb Bruner for a two-out plate appearance. Mann popped up to shallow right-center on a 3-2 pitch and in came Colie Currie for a half-sliding, half-diving grab to save at least two runs.
What’s Up Next
The Hilltoppers host No. 25 Southern Miss for a three-game Conference USA series at Nick Denes Field from Friday, March 31 to Sunday, April 2. The Golden Eagles stand at 19-5 this season going into a pair of midweek matchups against South Alabama and New Orleans at home, and have started league play with a 5-1 mark combined against Louisiana Tech and Marshall.
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Assistant Director of Media Relations
WKU Hilltopper Athletics