March 7, 2009
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
Sophomore Phil Wunderlich was 3-for-4 with four RBI and a run scored as the 25th-ranked Louisville baseball team continued its best home start in 10 years with a 10-6 win over Eastern Illinois on Saturday night in the Cardinal Classic sponsored by UBS at Jim Patterson Stadium.
The UofL-EIU game was originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon, but moved to Saturday night due to inclement weather forecasted for Sunday.
The win capped a double-header day for Louisville, which also earned an 8-7 win over Milwaukee on Saturday at the Cardinal Classic. With Saturday's wins, the Cardinals (8-4) improved to 8-0 at Jim Patterson Stadium to open the season and are off to their best start at home since winning the first 10 games at Cardinal Stadium in 1999.
"It was a great day of baseball and two tough games for our team," said Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell. "We were able to finish strong in both games. We had a lot of key hits late in those games and this was a good weekend for us."
Wunderlich, a utility player from Chicago, Ill., had an RBI single in the seventh inning that gave the Cards a 7-5 lead and then added a bases-clearing three-run double in the eighth inning to put the game out of reach for Eastern Illinois (5-3), which opened Saturday's action at the Cardinal Classic with a 4-3 win over Milwaukee. Wunderlich also had two RBI and was 1-for-3 from the plate earlier in the day in the Cards' win over Milwaukee.
For the seventh time in 12 games and the second time on Saturday, the Cards' opponent scored first as Eastern Illinois second baseman Jordan Tokarz tripled down the right field line off Cards' starter Dean Kiekhefer and scored on a groundout by Zach Skidmore for a 1-0 EIU lead after the first inning.
Louisville came back to gain its first lead of the night in the second inning as Wunderlich singled to center and scored on a Josh Richmond triple, and Richmond scored on an RBI groundout by junior catcher Jeff Arnold to make it 2-1 Louisville.
The Panthers came back for two runs in the third inning as centerfielder Brent Nommensen singled and then scored on a two-run homer by Tokarz to take a 3-2 lead. But the Cards evened the score at 3-3 in the home half of the third as sophomore outfielder Nate Holland
walked, advanced to third on a single by junior first baseman Andrew Clark
and then scored on a single by junior third baseman Chris Dominguez
Louisville regained the lead at 4-3 in the fourth inning as Arnold singled off Panthers' starter Tyler Kehrer, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by freshman Ryan Wright, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games with his 2-for-4 day at the plate.
Following a scoreless fifth inning, EIU evened things at 4-4 in the sixth inning as Richie Derbak singled through the right side and scored on a Ben Thoma double. The Panthers then regained the lead at 5-4 an inning later as Tokarz doubled off Louisville freshman reliever Derek Self, advanced to third on a groundout by Skidmore and scored on a sacrifice flyout by Alex Gee.
That set the stage for the Cards' final comeback of the day in the bottom of the seventh that started with a walk to Holland and was followed by singles from junior second baseman Adam Duvall and Clark. With Clarks' single to right field, EIU rightfielder Jake Samuels' throw to third base got past Skidmore and bounced into the Panthers' dugout allowing both Holland and Duvall to score for a 6-5 Louisville advantage. Wunderlich closed the scoring in the inning with his RBI single for a 7-5 Cards' lead after seven innings.
EIU pulled to within a run at 7-6 in the eighth inning on an RBI groundout by Nommensen to score Daniel Bracken, who pinch ran for Samuels, who led off the inning with a walk. But the Panthers would not get any closer as the Cards came back with three more runs in the home half of the eight on Wunderlich's double to score Wright (triple), Clark (walk) and Dominguez (hit by pitch).
Sophomore lefty Bob Revesz, who recorded the final two outs of the eighth inning, got the final three outs in the ninth for his first save of the season and the second of his career. Self improve to 2-0 on the season after allowing only one earned run on two hits in 1.1 innings. Kiekhefer got the no-decision after allowing four runs on eight hits and striking out five in 6.0 innings.
Eastern Illinois reliever Brian Morrell (1-1) took the loss after allowing three runs on three hits in only 0.1 inning of work. Kehrer started the game and allowed four runs on nine hits and struck out five.
The 2009 Cardinal Classic sponsored by UBS concludes on Sunday with Eastern Illinois vs. Milwaukee at 11 a.m. ET. Admission is free for the event.
- Junior third baseman Chris Dominguez completed an amazing week at the plate as the preseason All-American hit .500 (11-for-22) with 15 RBI, four home runs, two grand slams, eight runs scored and an amazing 1.091 slugging percentage. Overall, he is now hitting .354 with five home runs and 22 RBI in 12 games.
- Junior second baseman Adam Duvall's seventh inning single extended his hitting streak 10 games this season. The Louisville native and Chipola Junior College transfer is the Cards' leading hitter with a .381 average (16-of-42) through the first 12 games.
- After going hitless in his first collegiate game on Feb. 20 at Florida, freshman Ryan Wright has hit safely in his last 11 games. The Fort Wayne, Ind., native has been impressive so far this season with a .327 average from the plate.