Zak Wasserman had a career-best three hits in the win.
March 3, 2012
By Adam Pruiett, UofLsports.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Doing things one at a time hadn't been paying the Louisville baseball team's offense many dividends of late. The Cardinals cashed in Saturday with a barrage of extra-base hits.
No. 14 Louisville had two doubles and a triple in tallying three runs in the third inning, and sophomore right-hander Jeff Thompson (Greenville, Ind./Floyd Central HS) had a commanding performance in the Cardinals' 3-1 victory over Pepperdine in the second game of a doubleheader at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Junior first baseman Zak Wasserman (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore HS) went 3-for-4 with an RBI for Louisville (7-3), which recovered after losing the first game 3-2. Freshman third baseman Mason Snyder (Ottawa, Ill./Marquette Academy HS) added two hits, including the first triple of his career, and sophomore centerfielder Adam Engel (Loveland, Ohio/Loveland HS), junior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC), senior rightfielder Stewart Ijames (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) and junior catcher Shane Crain (Lexington, Ky./Wabash Valley CC) all had one hit apiece.
Thompson upped his record to 3-0 this season after striking out five and allowing four hits and one earned run in seven innings. His most dominant stretch against the Waves (8-3) occurred when he retired nine straight batters spanning the third through sixth innings. Joe Sever had an RBI ground out in the third inning for Pepperdine's only run.
Extra-base hits were the theme of Louisville's three-run third inning against Pepperdine starter Scott Frazier (1-2), and the Cardinals also executed some small ball. Engel led off by ripping a double over third base and into the left field corner. Ratajczak moved him over with a ground out to second, and Engel scored when sophomore designated hitter Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy HS) ended a nine-pitch at-bat with a ground out to second of his own. Gardner drove in the Cardinals' only two runs in the opener before collecting the team's first RBI in the tail end.
Ijames kept Louisville's momentum going by roping a line drive over centerfielder Matt Gelalich for a double. Snyder gave the Cardinals a 2-1 lead when he drilled a triple into the right center gap, and Wasserman gave Louisville some cushion when he swatted an RBI single to right.
In his first start at third base, Snyder made the defensive play of the doubleheader. It happened with one out in the seventh inning, when Austin Davidson pushed a foul ball toward the fence lining the third base side. Snyder raced over and dived to make the grab, much to the chagrin of the nearby Pepperdine dugout. Sophomore shortstop Alex Chittenden (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central HS) also made a diving stop in the ninth.
With junior right-hander Matt Koch (Cherokee, Iowa/Cherokee Washington HS) on the mound, Chittenden's gem came when Pepperdine had a runner on first base with one out. He laid out to snatch a hard grounder up the middle by Aaron Brown and flipped to Ratajczak for the out at second. Pinch hitter Floyd Given kept Pepperdine alive with a single, and both he and Brown advanced when Koch was called for a balk. With the tying run at second, Koch was able to bear down on Austin Davidson, striking him out with a blazing fastball to record his third save this season.
Louisville and Pepperdine will meet at 1 p.m., ET Sunday in the final game of the series. Admission is free. The teams played a doubleheader Saturday after Friday's opener was postponed due to severe weather.