Senior outfielder Josh Bolen blasted a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh to seal a 3-2 win and sweep of a doubleheader with Northern Illinois Saturday.
Feb. 22, 2003
LOUISVILLE, KY - The University of Louisville baseball team swept a dramatic season-opening doubleheader from Northern Illinois on blustery Saturday afternoon at Cardinal Stadium, picking up a pair of 3-2 wins. The Cardinals(2-0) tied the first game at two in the ninth and won it in the tenth, while Josh Bolen's walk off solo home run in the seventh vaulted the Cards to the win in game two.
The Huskie's (0-2) Mark Skrukrud and Louisville's Zach Jackson engaged in a left-handed pitching duel Saturday in the rain in game one, with neither pitcher picking up a decision.
Jackson tossed seven innings, allowing a run on three hits and one walk, while fanning five, and Skrukrud puzzled the Cards for seven and a third innings, giving up a single run on two hits and two walks while striking out nine.
Cardinal sophomore DH Curt Stewart picked up the first base hit of the ballgame when he smoked a double off the wall in right to lead off the U of L third inning, but was stranded at third.
Jackson tossed four and a third hitless innings before NIU first baseman Mike Hochhauser doubled down the left field line in the fifth.
A two-out double by Huskie DH Greg Larsen that scored third baseman Rob Marconi NIU up 1-0 in the top of the seventh inning.
The Cards tied things up in the eighth. Left fielder Josh Bolen walked to lead off the frame and was moved to third on a sharp single by Stewart and pinch hit sacrifice bunt by Nick Haley. Danny Plasencia plated Bolen on an RBI groundout for a 1-1 ledger.
Freshman Griffin Bailey walked two and struck out one in working a scorless eighth.
Cardinal shortstop J.T. LaFountain reached when he swung and missed on a pitch in the dirt that the catcher couldn't handle to lead off the ninth. The next two batters were retired, placing LaFountain at second. Catcher Ron Braun singled to left, scoring LaFountain on a head-first slide, just ahead of the tag to dramatically tie the game.
In the 10th, Haley was hit by the first pitch of the inning, and Skylar Meade reached when his sacrifice bunt was mishandled by Marconi. Center fielder Dave Williams Jr. bunted the runners over and LaFountain was intentionally walked, bringing up right fielder Mark Jurich with the bases loaded. Jurich punched a fielder's choice to the right side and Haley beat the throw, giving the Cards the win.
Carlos Fernandez (1-0) tossed the final two innings, allowing a run on two hits, while striking out three to pick up the win.
Nick Hall (0-1) lost in his college debut, walking one and allowing the run without giving up a hit in a third of an inning.
In the nightcap, Louisville took a 2-0 lead in the second. With one out, Plasencia reached on an infield single and advanced to second on a single by Haley. A walk to Dave Williams Jr. loaded the bases, and LaFountain hit a ground ball to short scoring Plasencia. Trying to turn two, the throw to first was wide of the bag, scoring Haley.
Northern answered with an unearned run in the third on two Cardinal miscues, and evened things at two in the fifth on an RBI double by third baseman Rob Marconi.
NIU starter Zach Minor gave up two runs, one of which was earned on just three hits and two walks, while fanning eight.
Hall(0-2) entered in the seventh in the second game and, after giving up a double off the wall to Bolen in the ninth of game one, gave up the home run on his second pitch of the inning to end game two.
Louisville's Scott Barber (1-0) was strong, going the distance and giving up one earned run on five hits and a walk to go with six strikeouts, while picking up the victory.
The same two teams will meet for a similar doubleheader Sunday at noon with a nine followed by a seven inning game.