March 4, 2012
Box Score |
By Adam Pruiett, UofLsports.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Alex Chittenden flashed his glove work early. Later, he showed off his power stroke. In between, starting pitcher Travis Tingle and slugger Stewart Ijames had their turns in the spotlight. And then there was Nick Ratajczak and Derek Self.
Indeed, it was that kind of Sunday for the Louisville baseball team at Jim Patterson Stadium, an afternoon where there was no shortage of standouts in a well-rounded 7-3 series-clinching victory over Pepperdine that marked one of the Cardinals' top outings of the young season.
After dropping the series opener, No. 14 Louisville (8-3) rallied to take two of three from the Waves (8-4). Tingle (Louisville, Ky./Cleveland State CC) was outstanding, allowing three hits and one earned run over six innings while striking out four to improve to 2-0. Just as they did in the previous series against Oakland, the Cardinals' three starting pitchers, which also include junior right-hander Justin Amlung (Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier HS) and sophomore right-hander Jeff Thompson (Greenville, Ind./Floyd Central HS), were all terrific against Pepperdine.
Ijames (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) struck out in his first two appearances against Pepperdine starter Corey Miller, but the senior first baseman/outfielder solved him in his third plate appearance. Ijames tattooed a three-run home run to right center to boost Louisville's lead to 4-1 in the sixth and extend his hitting streak to eight games. Miller (2-1) entered the contest with a miniscule 0.57 ERA, but the Cardinals touched him up for four earned runs on 10 hits in 6.2 innings.
Chittenden (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central HS) had one of his best games in a Cardinals' uniform. The sophomore shortstop cranked the first home run of his Louisville career when he drilled a two-run shot to left field in the eighth inning for a 7-3 lead. Chittenden got Louisville on the board in the second inning with an RBI single. In the field, he recorded five assists and three putouts, leaping to catch a soft liner by James Grandpre to take away a hit in the second inning and denying another in the eighth when he ranged deep in the hole toward third base and fired to first to clip Pepperdine leadoff man Zach Vincej.
Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC) also shined, going 3-for-4 with a run scored. Sophomore designated hitter Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy HS) was 2-for-3 with a run and Ijames, freshman third baseman Mason Snyder (Ottawa, Ill./Marquette Academy HS), sophomore leftfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS), junior first baseman Zak Wasserman (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore HS) and junior outfielder Matt Helms (Eufaula, Okla./Seminole State CC) each had one hit.
Self (Cave City, Ky./Caverna HS) added another dominant relief outing. The senior right-hander allowed a single hit and no walks in two innings while striking out one to record his third save. For the season, Self has not yielded a run in nine innings.
Ijames followed back-to-back singles by Ratajczak and Gardner by going deep for his fourth home run of the season and 37th of his career in the sixth inning. However, Pepperdine battled back to within 4-3 after plating two runs in the seventh. Both runs were charged to freshman left-hander Joe Filomeno (Cicero, Ill./St. Rita HS), the first time in three appearances he'd surrendered a run. Sophomore right-hander Dace Kime (Defiance, Ohio/Defiance HS) relieved Filomeno in the inning and struck out two to help prevent Pepperdine from tying it up and set the stage for Self to sew up the win.
Louisville went up 5-3 in the eighth after Ijames walked, stole second and scored when pinch hitter Helms slapped a single to left. Chittenden then greeted new pitcher Andrew Alvarez with his first homer as a Cardinal.
Louisville concludes its nine-game homestand Tuesday by hosting Indiana at 3 p.m., ET. Admission to the game is free.
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