March 5, 2010
Box Score |
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
Junior righty Thomas Royse won his third straight start while senior catcher Jeff Arnold had a home run and three RBI to lead the eighth-ranked Louisville baseball team to an 8-1 series-opening win over Le Moyne on Friday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium.
With the win, the Cardinals remained unbeaten at 9-0 and continued the program's best start since 1957 (15-0). The nine-game winning streak is the second longest in head coach Dan McDonnell's four seasons trailing only the 10 straight wins for the 2007 Cardinals. Louisville also extended its regular-season home winning streak at Jim Patterson Stadium to 11 games.
On Friday, Royse allowed one earned run, his first of the season, on seven hits with five strikeouts in 7.0 innings to improve to 3-0 overall. The Lexington, Ky., native has allowed only one earned run in 18.0 innings of work this season for an ERA of just 0.50. Following Royse, the Cards' bullpen continued its masterful work this season as junior Neil Holland (Owensboro, Ky.) and sophomore Joe Stilphen (Bay Village, Ohio) pitched perfect eighth and ninth innings respectively to close out Le Moyne (4-4).
"It was another good Friday night performance by our starter against a good offense. Thomas set the tone," McDonnell said. "He had a tough inning there when they had a couple of infield hits and then hit a guy. They had a chance to put up a crooked number as we say and he pitched his way out of it. Our hats are off to Thomas, and then Neil and Joe came in and threw strikes. He did what you hope your Friday night guy does and that is set the tone for the weekend. We still have a great challenge ahead of us on Saturday and Sunday."
At the plate, Arnold had his game of the season going 3-for-3, including his first home run of 2010, with the three RBI and two runs scored. Senior Adam Duvall (Louisville, Ky.) continued his tear at the plate with a 3-for-5 day, two RBI and a run scored. A co-captain along with Arnold, Duvall has hit safely in all nine games to open the season and is the Cardinals' leading hitter overall with a .500 average at the plate.
"I was able to break out of a little bit of slump today and it feels good," said Arnold. "I owe a lot of credit to Coach (Chris) Lemonis for helping me work on some basic mechanical things with my swing and that really made a difference today."
The Cardinals opened the scoring in the second inning as Arnold hammered his first home run of the season over the wall in left field off Le Moyne starter Jeff Tardiff for a 1-0 advantage.
Louisville added to its lead an inning later with three runs on four hits in the third. Duvall started the scoring with a two-run single to left field to score junior Drew Haynes (New Albany, Ind.), who led off the inning with a walk, and freshman Kyle Grieshaber (Chesterfield, Mo.), who reached with a single. Later in the inning, Arnold made it 4-0 with an RBI double to left to score junior Phil Wunderlich (Chicago), who had singled earlier in the inning.
The Dolphins broke up the shutout and scored the first earned run of the season against Royse as second baseman Zach Wiley scored from third on an RBI infield single by first baseman Joe Lombardi to cut the Louisville lead to 4-1 in the fourth. The Le Moyne run in the fourth ended a stretch of 14.2 innings without allowing an earned run by Royse to open the season.
After a pair of scoreless innings, the Cardinals added two more runs in the sixth as Arnold and redshirt sophomore Stewart Ijames (Owensboro, Ky.) scored on a two-run double to right center by sophomore Mike Morrison (Fort Wayne, Ind.) off Tardiff for a 6-1 advantage. Tardiff took the loss for the Dolphins, an NCAA Regional team in 2007, after allowing seven earned runs and eight total runs on 12 hits in 6.2 innings.
Louisville continued the scoring in the seventh inning with two more runs on two hits and one Le Moyne error. Grieshaber started the inning with a leadoff walk, then moved to third on a single by Duvall and an error by Dolphins' shortstop Matt Marra and scored on an RBI groundout by sophomore Ryan Wright (Fort Wayne, Ind.) to push the lead to 7-1. Moments later, Duvall scored on an RBI single by Arnold for the final 8-1 advantage.
The Cardinals continue their three-game series with Le Moyne on Saturday at noon ET, while Sunday's finale will start at 1 p.m. Admission is free for the entire series.
- Not only did Adam Duvall extend his hitting streak to nine games on Friday, but the senior had his eighth multi-hit game of 2010 to lead the Cardinals in that category.
- Thanks to Arnold's second inning home run, Louisville scored first for the first time in six games at home in 2010. The Cardinals have six come-from-behind wins this season, including five at home.
- Through nine games, the Louisville pitching staff has allowed only 22 earned runs in 82 innings for a team ERA of just 2.41. The Cardinals' bullpen has been even better allowing only four earned runs in 44.0 innings for a microscopic ERA of 0.82.