March 6, 2009
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
Junior third baseman Chris Dominguez hit a career high three home runs, including his second grand slam in three days, and junior lefty Justin Marks did not allow an earned run in six innings of action to lead the 25th-ranked Louisville baseball team to a 19-6 win over the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on the first day of the 2009 Cardinal Classic sponsored by UBS Friday at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Dominguez, from Miami, Fla., homered in his first three at-bats on Friday and was 4-for-5 overall from the plate with a career-high nine RBI and four runs scored. He hit a solo shot to left field in the second inning to score the Cards' first run, connected on the third grand slam of his career to left field in the third inning to give the Cards a 6-2 lead and followed with a three-run, line-drive homer to left-center in the fifth inning to make it 14-2 Louisville at the time. He also added an RBI single to left in the eighth inning to score the Cards' 19th and final run.
On Wednesday, Dominguez hit his second career grand slam in a 4-for-5 day from the plate in the Cards' 12-1 win over Western Michigan. In the Cards' three games this week, Dominguez is 9-of-15 from the plate with four home runs, 13 RBI and six runs scored. He leads the team in home runs (five) and RBI (20), is hitting .366 from the plate with a .829 slugging percentage.
Along with the Dominguez's impressive day from the plate, the Cards (6-4) also got a strong performance on the mound from Marks, who earned his first win of the season to push the Cards' home winning streak to six games overall. The Owensboro, Ky., native struck out a career high 11 batters and gave up only four hits in his six innings to even his 2009 record to 1-1. He had at least two strikeouts in four of his six innings had three strikeouts in both the fourth and sixth.
"Justin was very good out there today and he gave us an outstanding performance on the mound," said Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell
. "He's had some tough breaks early in the season and really hasn't had anything go his way, but today, he was really in control and was very sharp."
After Milwaukee (3-5) opening the scoring with a pair of unearned runs in each of the first two innings, the Cards evened things at 2-2 in the second as Dominguez and sophomore Phil Wunderlich connected on back-to-back home runs. It is the second time this season the Cards have hit back-to-back home runs as sophomores Nate Holland and Josh Richmond accomplished the feat on Feb. 27 in the Cards' win over Bowling Green.
Louisville extended its lead to 8-2 with a six-run third inning highlighted by the Dominguez grand slam, which scored Holland (single), junior second baseman Adam Duvall (walk) and junior first baseman Andrew Clark (single). The Cards added two more runs in the fourth inning after Dominguez walked, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout by Duvall and then scored, along with Richmond (who reached base with a walk) on an RBI double to left-center by junior catcher Jeff Arnold.
The Cards continued their scoring barrage in the fifth and sixth innings with back-to-back four-run spots. Clark started the scoring with an RBI double down the right field line to score freshman shortstop Ryan Wright, who reached base with an infield single to extend his hitting streak to nine games. That was followed by the three-run homer off the bat of Dominguez to score Arnold and Duvall, who had reached base with a single to extend his hitting streak to eight straight games.
The four-run sixth inning for Louisville included an RBI single for Wright to score Arnold and three-run double to right-center off the bat of Clark, who extended his hitting streak to seven games with a 3-for-6 day to go along with four RBI and two runs scored.
The Panthers scored three runs in the seventh and one run in the eighth off Louisville reliever Neil Holland, while redshirt freshman Joe Stilphen recorded the final four outs of the game for the Cards.
Milwaukee starter Nate Caldwell took the loss after allowing six earned runs and eight total runs on six hits, including the first two Dominguez home runs.
Saturday's current 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. Saturday's schedule could be altered in preparation for possible inclement weather on Sunday, in which case, Sunday's U of L-EIU game could be moved to Saturday evening.
Currently, Sunday's schedule will feature 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.
- Though Friday marked the first time junior third baseman Chris Dominguez had hit three home runs in a game for Louisville, it's not the first time he's experienced the impressive feat. On July 9, 2008, Dominguez hit three homes run for the Hyannis Mets in the prestigious Cape Cod League, joining former AL MVP Frank Thomas as the only players in league history to hit three home runs in a game. Dominguez went on to lead the league in home runs with 10.
- The 19 runs and 18 hits are both season highs for the Louisville. After a season-low six hits in their 7-5 loss to Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday, the Cardinals have had their top-two hit performances of the season in their last two games. U of L had 15 hits in Wednesday's 12-1 win over Western Michigan.
- The 6-0 start at Jim Patterson Stadium for Louisville is the best start at home for the program since winning the first six games at Cardinal Stadium in the 2003 season.
- Adam Duvall, in his first season with U of L after transferring from Chipola Junior College, is the Cards' leading hitter through 10 games with a .406 average (13-of-32). The Louisville native and Butler High School product also leads the team in runs scored (17), is tied for the lead in stolen bases (4-for-4) and is third on the team with nine RBI.