Feb. 28, 2010
CLEARWATER, Fla. -
The 11th-ranked Louisville baseball team exploded for its best offensive game of the season in a 17-6 rout of Michigan State on day two of the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge on a cool Saturday night at Jack Russell Stadium.
Thanks to a season-high 17 runs on 16 hits, the Cardinals improved to 6-0 overall matching the program's best start since the 2003 squad opened with six straight wins, while Michigan State dropped to 3-2 overall with the loss.
The game started more than four hours after its scheduled time after morning rains delayed the Saturday tripleheader at Jack Russell Stadium. The game ended at approximately 11:30 p.m. ET, just 10 ½ hours before the Cardinals' weekend finale against Minnesota is scheduled to begin (10 a.m. ET) at the Naimoli Complex in St. Petersburg.
Leading the way for the Cardinals was the left-handed hitting quartet of Stewart Ijames, Andrew Clark, Phil Wunderlich and Drew Haynes, who combined to go 10-for-15 with three home runs, 12 RBI and eight runs scored in the win. Ijames (Owensboro, Ky.) finished 4-for-4 overall with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored in his best game of the season, while Clark (New Palestine, Ind.) was 2-for-3 with a home run, five RBI and a run scored. Wunderlich (Chicago, Ill.) hammered his first home run of the season and was 2-for-5 overall with two RBI and two runs, while Haynes (New Albany, Ind.) was 2-for-3 with two RBI and three runs.
On the mound, the Cardinals got another quality start from junior lefty Dean Kiekhefer, who allowed three runs on three hits with five strikeouts in 6.0 innings to earn his first win of the season.
Michigan State opened the scoring in Saturday's game as second baseman Ryan Jones' two-run single up the middle gave the Spartans a 2-0 advantage. The lead was short-lived as an inning later Clark tied the score at 2-2 with a two-run single to centerfield to score Haynes and junior outfielder Josh Richmond
An inning later, Louisville put the game away for good with six runs on six hits for a commanding 8-2 advantage. Ijames started the scoring and gave the Cardinals their first lead of the night with his first home run of the season, a two-run bomb to left field off MSU starter Tony Bucciferro, to score Wunderlich. Richmond continued the scoring later in the inning with an RBI single and then scored moments later on an RBI double to left by senior second baseman Adam Duvall (Louisville, Ky.). Clark then closed the scoring with his two-run homer to left, his second of the season.
After Michigan State cut the lead to 8-3 in the fifth inning, Louisville erupted for its highest scoring inning of the season with nine runs on six hits in the sixth to take a 17-3 advantage. The scoring started with an RBI sac fly by Clark and continued with a two-run single through the right side by sophomore shortstop Ryan Wright (Fort Wayne, Ind.). Wunderlich followed with his two-run homer off Spartans' reliever Andrew Waszak, Ijames added an RBI double to left field, Haynes hammered a two-run double to left center and Duvall closed it out with an RBI double to right center.
MSU added an unearned run in the seventh and two more runs in the eighth to close out the scoring in the game. Bucciferro took the loss for the Spartans after allowing eight runs on nine hits in 3.2 innings to fall to 0-2 on the season.
Overall, eight of the Cardinals' nine starters had at least one hit, while five players finished with multiple hits.
Louisville will conclude the 2010 Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge on Sunday against Minnesota at 10 a.m. ET at the Naimoli Complex in St. Petersburg, Fla.
- Following a slow start on day one of the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge, the BIG EAST Conference came back to win seven of 10 games on Saturday and even the two-day record at 10-10 entering the third and final day of the second year event.
- With a win on Sunday against Minnesota, Louisville would improve to 7-0 for its best start since 1957, when the Cardinals finished 15-0 overall.
- With his 2-for-3 day at the plate, Drew Haynes extended his season-opening hitting streak to six games and leads the Cardinals in hitting with a .500 average (10-for-20) overall.
- Along with Haynes, senior co-captains Jeff Arnold and Adam Duvall also have hits in each of the Cards' first six games in 2010. Arnold is hitting .350 (7-for-20) overall, while Duvall is at .444 (12-of-27).