March 6, 2010
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
Freshman third baseman Cade Stallings hammered a walk-off, three-run homer to push the eighth-ranked Louisville baseball team to a 6-5 win over Le Moyne in 10 innings on Saturday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium.
With the win, the Cardinals remained unbeaten at 10-0 and continued the program's best start since 1957 (15-0). The 10-game winning streak matches the longest in head coach Dan McDonnell's four seasons equaling the 10 straight wins for the 2008 Cardinals. Louisville also extended its regular-season home winning streak at Jim Patterson Stadium to 12 games.
With one out, redshirt sophomore Stewart Ijames (Owensboro, Ky.) on second and senior catcher Jeff Arnold (Louisville, Ky.) at third and the Cardinals' trailing 5-3, Stallings (Knoxville, Tenn.) mashed a 1-2 pitch from Le Moyne (4-5) reliever Tom McDermott over the wall in left field for his first career home run and the Cardinals' seventh come-from-behind win already in 2010. It was the only hit of the day for Stallings, who was making his fourth start of the season overall and his second at third base.
Junior Phil Wunderlich (Chicago, Ill.) led the way for the Cardinals at the plate on Saturday going 3-for-5 with two RBI and one run scored, including his team-leading third home run of the season to start the 10th inning rally for Louisville. Sophomore Ryan Wright (Fort Wayne, Ind.) also had a good day at the plate going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
On the mound, junior righty Gabriel Shaw (Paducah, Ky.) earned the win to improve to 2-0 overall, while junior lefty Dean Kiekhefer (Louisville, Ky.) got the no-decision after allowing only two runs on six hits with four strikeouts in 7.0 innings. Junior righty Neil Holland (Owensboro, Ky.) continued his stellar work out of the bullpen with 2.0 perfect innings of relief to keep the Cardinals even through nine innings.
Le Moyne opened the scoring in the third inning as first baseman Rich Brown reached base with a one-out single, advanced to third on a single to right by catcher Kyle Kalaka and then scored on a throwing error by Ijames for a 1-0 lead.
Two innings later, the Dolphins added to their lead as left fielder Chris Edmonson singled to left field and scored moments later on an RBI double to left by center fielder Sean Paino for a 2-0 advantage.
Louisville finally broke through in the seventh inning with two runs on two hits off Le Moyne reliever Erik Lambe. Louisville junior outfielder Drew Haynes (New Albany, Ind.) led off the inning with a walk, moved to second with his team-leading sixth stolen base and then scored on an RBI single to center by Wright. After moving to second with his fourth stolen base of the season, Wright scored on an RBI double to left center by Wunderlich to tie the score at 2-2.
The score remained tied until the 10th inning when the Dolphins scored three unearned runs off Shaw. After loading the bases with back-to-back singles by Kalaka and second baseman Zach Wiley and an intentional walk to Edmondson, Le Moyne gained a 4-2 lead as center fielder Sean Paino reached base on a fielding error at first base by Wunderlich. The Dolphins' final run came on an RBI single up the middle by shortstop Matt Marra for a 5-2 advantage.
That was the situation leading up to the Cardinals' furious rally, which started with Wunderlich's solo home run to open the bottom of the 10th off Le Moyne reliever Luke Nellis. Arnold followed with a walk, and after Nellis was replaced on the mound by McDermott, Ijames singled through the right side to put two runners on with no outs. Freshman outfielder Drew Fitzpatrick (Warren, Ohio) then came through with a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt to the right side to advance the runners and set the stage for Stallings' dramatic game-winning home run.
The Cardinals close their three-game series with Le Moyne on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.