March 4, 2009
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
Freshman righty Mike Nastold allowed only one hit in his first career appearance, while junior third baseman Chris Dominguez hit his second career grand slam to lead the 25th-ranked Louisville baseball team to a 12-1 win over Western Michigan on Wednesday at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Nastold, from Cincinnati, Ohio, allowed only one run on one hit to go along with two strikeouts in 5.0 innings of action to earn the win in his first collegiate game. Nastold and Louisville relievers Bob Revesz, Alex Blodgett, Joe Stilphen and Neil Holland faced only three hitters over the minimum while giving up just two hits to the Broncos en route to the Cards' fifth straight win at home.
"This was certainly our most complete game this season and a good win for our team," said Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell. "We got a very good start on the mound from Mike and all of our pitchers did a nice job today."
The Cards (5-4) offense was led by Dominguez, who had his best game of the season going 4-for-5 overall from the plate with the four RBI on the grand slam in the sixth inning. With Louisville holding a 4-1 advantage, the Miami native hammered the first pitch he saw from WMU (1-7) pitcher Troy Forton for his first grand slam since his first career slam on June 4, 2007 in Columbia, Mo., in the NCAA Regional against the host Missouri Tigers.
Louisville started the scoring in the first inning as junior second baseman Adam Duvall was hit by a pitch from Western Michigan starter Eric Heckaman, junior first baseman Andrew Clark reached base on an error by second baseman Brent Gerlach and both runners advanced on a balk by Heckman. Duvall made it 1-0 as he scored while sophomore DH Phil Wunderlich reached base on an error by shortstop Grant Simotes. The Cards made it 2-0 moments later as Josh Richmond reached base on a fielder's choice to score Clark for a 2-0 Louisville advantage after one inning.
The score stayed that way until the fifth inning when Nastold made his only mistake of the day as WMU catcher Nathan Marquardt led off the inning with a solo home run. The Louisville starter bounced back from the home run by retiring the final three hitters he faced to finish his first collegiate game in impressive fashion.
Holding a slim 2-1 lead, the Cardinals increased their lead in the home half of the fifth with a pair of runs on three hits. Dominguez started the inning with a leadoff single, one of three singles on the day for the All-American, and advanced to third on a single off the bat of Wunderlich. After Richmond was hit by a pitch from Heckaman, Dominguez scored on a sacrifice fly by freshman shortstop Ryan Wright to make it 3-1 Louisville and Wunderlich scored on a single by senior Alec Lowrey for a 4-1 advantage.
The Cards doubled their run total an inning later with the Dominguez grand slam, which was set up by three straight walks to sophomore outfielder Nate Holland, Duvall and Clark. Louisville ended the scoring an inning later with four more runs on five hits in the seventh inning. That scoring barrage included a two-run triple by Duvall, an RBI single by Clark and an RBI triple by Richmond.
Along with Nastold's impressive performance, Wednesday's win included the collegiate debut of three other Cardinals. Freshman Alex Blodgett pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning in his first ever game, while redshirt freshman Joe Stilphen and freshman catcher Tim Hayes also debuted in the Cardinal uniform.
Up next, Louisville will host the 2009 Cardinal Classic sponsored by UBS on Friday through Sunday. The event will begin with Louisville hosting Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Friday at 3 p.m. ET.
Saturday's schedule at the Cardinal Classic sponsored by UBS will feature Eastern Illinois vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee at 11 a.m., and will be followed by Louisville and Wisconsin-Milwaukee at 2 p.m. The event will conclude on Sunday with another EIU-Milwaukee game at 11 a.m., and the Cards vs. Eastern Illinois at 2 p.m. Admission is free for the entire event.
- Three Cardinal hitters continued impressive early hitting streaks in Wednesday's win. Freshman shortstop Ryan Wright extended his hitting streak to eight games with his 1-for-2 effort, while junior second baseman Adam Duvall hit safely in a seventh-straight game with his 3-for-3 day to go along with two RBI and three runs scored. Junior Andrew Clark's RBI single in the seventh inning extended his hitting streak to six games.
- Adam Duvall, in his first season with U of L after transferring from Chipola Junior College, is the Cards' leading hitter through nine games with a .393 average (11-of-28). The Louisville native and Butler High School product also leads the team in runs scored (14) and stolen bases (4-for-4) and is second on the team with nine RBI.
- Louisville's 5-0 start at Jim Patterson Stadium is the program's best home start since opening the 2003 season 6-0 at Cardinal Stadium.
- With his 4-for-5 effort on Wednesday, Chris Dominguez is now hitting .306 from the plate, leads the team in RBI with 14 and is tied for the team lead with two home runs.
- The 15 hits for the Cardinals on Wednesday is a season-high total and comes a day after they matched a season-low with only six hits in a 7-5 loss at Eastern Kentucky.