March 9, 2012
Box Score |
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Junior second baseman Nick Ratajczak led the offense with four hits and three RBI while junior righty Justin Amlung provided another quality start as the 14th-ranked Louisville baseball team opened the DRASH Alabama Classic with a 7-3 win over Oral Roberts on Friday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC) went 4-for-5 overall with career highs in hits and RBI and scored once as the Cardinals won their fourth straight and improved to 10-3 overall. He had one of six Louisville singles in a five-run second inning that put the Cardinals in command for good.
Sophomore outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) finished 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, while sophomore designated hitter Ty Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) was 2-for-5 with a run scored. Sophomore outfielder Adam Engel (Loveland, Ohio/Loveland HS) added a hit and two runs, sophomore outfielder Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy) and sophomore catcher Kyle Gibson (Henderson, Ky./Henderson County HS) had a hit and an RBI each, freshman third baseman Mason Snyder (Ottawa, Ill./Marquette Academy) added a hit and a run and senior first baseman Stewart Ijames (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) had a hit to extend his hitting streak to 10 games.
After spotting the Golden Eagles (6-6) a 2-0 lead in the first on a two-run home run by second baseman Cam Schiller, Amlung (Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier HS) settled in to work his longest outing of the season allowing three runs on six hits with six strikeouts in 7.2 innings and improve to 2-2 overall with the win. He was followed by senior right-hander Derek Self (Cave City, Ky./Caverna HS) who pitched 1.1 innings of shutout relief to earn his team-leading fourth save of the season.
Trailing 2-0 after the first inning, Louisville started the momentum changing second frame with a leadoff single from Snyder and a bunt single by Young against ORU starter Mike Torrence. After a sacrifice bunt by Chittenden moved the runners over, Gibson started the scoring with an RBI sacrifice fly to right field to plate Snyder from third. Sturgeon followed with an RBI single to center to score Young to even the score and then moved to second on a single by Engel.
Ratajczak followed with an RBI single to left to score Sturgeon for the go-ahead run, while a throwing error by ORU leftfielder Brandon King allowed Engel to score for the fourth run of the inning. After moving to second on the throw by King, Ratajczak scored moments later on an RBI single to right by Gardner for the 5-2 Louisville lead.
The score remained that way until the seventh when Sturgeon led off with a single to center, moved to second on a successful sac bunt by Engel and then scored on an RBI single up the middle by Ratajczak for the 6-2 lead. After the Golden Eagles cut the deficit to three in the eighth on the second home run of the day for Schiller, a solo shot to right center, the Cardinals added a final run in the ninth after Engel reached base with a leadoff walk, advanced to second with his team-leading eighth stolen base of the season and then scored on yet another RBI single by Ratajczak.
Torrence, making his second start of the season, took the loss to drop to 1-2 on the season after allowing six runs on 11 hits in 6.2 innings pitched. He was followed by Alex Gonzalez, who allowed one run on one hit in his 1.1 innings of relief.
The Cardinals will continue the Alabama Classic on Saturday at 5:05 p.m., ET against the host Crimson Tide before closing the weekend against No. 29 East Carolina on Sunday at 11 a.m.
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