Feb. 29, 2008
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Senior Justin McClanahan belted a two-run home run and added an RBI double, while Zack Pitts, James Belanger and Gabriel Shaw allowed just one run on four hits, as the 22nd-ranked University of Louisville topped North Carolina State 3-1 Friday in the opening game of the Charleston Firefighter Memorial Challenge.
In the first inning, Chris Dominguez drew a two-out walk and McClanahan drilled the first pitch he saw the other way for a two-run home run, and a 2-0 Cardinals (3-1) lead. The home run was the second baseman's third of the season in just four games.
N.C. State (2-2) cut the lead in half, manufacturing a run in the bottom of the fifth on a pair of singles and a sacrifice fly to left by Drew Martin.
The Cardinals responded in the following half inning when Dominguez smoked a single up the middle, again with two away, and again it was McClanahan hammering an RBI double to left center for a 3-1 advantage.
Pitts started and worked seven strong innings, giving up the one run on four singles and a walk, striking out six to earn the win. The 2008 preseason BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year allowed just one baserunner past second, facing five over the minimum to improve to 2-0.
The Louisville bullpen continued to pitch well. Belanger made his season debut with a 1-2-3 eighth inning and Shaw converted his second save of the season in as many chances, breezing through a perfect ninth. Each reliever struck out one.
Shaw, a member of the BIG EAST weekly honor roll last week, has now retired all 15 batters he has faced. Only three baserunners reached second on the afternoon against the Cards.
Wolfpack starter Eric Surkamp (1-1), who did not allow a run in his first start of the season was saddled with the loss, allowing all three runs on three hits and a walk. He struck out eight batters in 5.2 innings. Kyle Rutter tossed an inning and a third out of the pen, walking one and striking out one. Jimmy Gilheeney recorded the final six outs and gave up two hits and walked one while striking out two.
McClanahan was 2 for 4 on the afternoon with the three RBI, while Dominguez was 1 for 3 at the plate, scoring two runs. Sophomore DH Jeff Arnold drilled a double into the left field corner in the ninth and freshman Josh Richmond hit a pinch single in the eighth for the only other Cardinal hits.
The Cardinals will face tournament host The Citadel Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in a game that will feature LHP Justin Marks (1-0, 3.60) on the hill for the Cards against LHP Matt Crim (0-1, 5.40) for the Bulldogs.