March 12, 2010
OXFORD, Miss. -
Propelled by a masterful night on the mound and a five-run 12th inning, the No. 8 Louisville baseball team remained unbeaten with an impressive 6-1 extra-innings win at No. 17 Ole Miss on a cool and windy Friday night at Oxford-University Stadium.
With Friday night's dramatic win, the Cards improved to 13-0 overall to maintain the second best start in school history, just two games short of matching the 15-0 record for the 1957 Louisville squad, while Ole Miss dropped to 11-3 on the season with the loss.
"That was a great baseball game. Both teams pitched extremely well and we were able to get a huge hit there in the 12th to win it," said Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell, who was coaching in Oxford for the first time since leaving his assistant coach position with the Rebels following the 2006 season for the Cardinals' head coaching job. "Drew Pomeranz is without a doubt the best pitcher we've seen this season and hopefully he's the best pitcher we'll see all year. With both teams pitching so well, we knew somebody would eventually step up and get a big hit and I'm glad J.J. did that for us."
On a night when the pitching was dominant, the Louisville offense finally broke through in the 12th inning with five runs on four hits and one key Ole Miss error to gain command of the game. The key hit in the inning came from junior J.J. Ethel (Phoenix, Ariz./Mountain Pointe HS), whose double down the left field line off Rebels' closer David Goforth scored Cards' sophomore outfielder Stewart Ijames (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic) and freshman Zak Wasserman (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore HS) to break a 1-1 tie and give Louisville the lead for good. Ijames started the rally with a one-out double to right center, while Wasserman followed by reaching base on a fielding error by Ole Miss shortstop Kevin Mort.
With Louisville leading 3-1, freshman Jarred Clarkson
(Shelbyville, Ky./Shelby County HS) pinch ran for Ethel and scored from second on an RBI single by freshman Kyle Grieshaber
(Chesterfield, Mo./Marquette HS). Senior second baseman Adam Duvall
(Louisville, Ky./Butler HS) closed the scoring moments later when he mashed an 0-2 pitch from Goforth, who took the loss to fall to 0-1 on the season, over the wall in left field for his second home run of the night and the fourth of the season.
Duvall, one of Louisville's two co-captains, finished the night 3-for-5 overall with the two home runs, three RBI and two runs scored while making several solid plays at shortstop as the Cardinals' defense had arguably its best game of the season. Overall, Duvall leads Louisville with a .417 average at the plate, 11 doubles and a .800 slugging percentage. He is also second on the team with the four home runs and third with 13 RBI.
Grieshaber, making his first career start in left field, was the only other Louisville player with multiple hits as he finished 2-for-6 overall with an RBI and one run scored.
On the mound, the Cardinals continued their early season form as junior righty Thomas Royse (Lexington, Ky./Dunbar HS), sophomore righty Derek Self (Cave City, Ky./Caverna HS) and junior righty Neil Holland (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic) limited the Rebels to just one run on four hits with 10 total strikeouts in 12.0 innings. Royse, making his fourth straight Friday start, allowed only one run on three hits with three strikeouts in 6.1 innings, while getting the no-decision. The 6-5, 210-pound righty also did not allow a hit until the sixth inning.
McDonnell and Cards' pitching coach Roger Williams then turned to Self, who allowed only one hit and three strikeouts in 3.1 scoreless innings of relief to keep Louisville in the game. Finally, Holland came on to retire all seven batters he faced with four strikeouts to earn the win and improve to 2-0 on the season. With his 2.1 innings of perfect relief on Friday night, Holland extended his career best scoreless streak to 15.0 innings. In those 15 innings of work in 2010, Holland has allowed only one hit with 20 strikeouts.
The Cardinals opened the scoring with two outs in the third as Duvall hammered his first home run of the night, a moon-shot down the left field line on a 3-2 pitch off Ole Miss starter Drew Pomeranz, for the 1-0 advantage. Pomeranz was saddled with a no-decision despite a fantastic performance on the mound where he allowed only the one run on three hits with 12 strikeouts in 6.1 innings.
The score remained that way until the sixth inning, when the Rebels finally broke through against Royse with their first hit and run of the night. Right fielder Matt Smith led off the inning with a single to right center, moved to second on a groundout by David Phillips, advanced to third on a deep flyout to right by Zach Miller and then scored on an RBI bouncer through the left side by left fielder Tanner Mathis to even the score at 1-1.
The two bullpens then settled into a terrific dual with five consecutive scoreless innings before the Cardinals closed the deal in the 12th.
The Cardinals and Rebels will continue their series on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET, while Sunday's series finale is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET. Play-by-play of the entire series can be heard on KOOL 1570 AM or online through CardsTV at UofLSports.com.
- Through 13 games, the Louisville pitching staff has an ERA of just 2.36 with 111 strikeouts in 122 innings. The bullpen has been even better with an ERA of only 1.19 with 58 strikeouts in 60.2 innings of work.
- The Cardinals' 13-game winning streak overall is the longest in Dan McDonnell's four seasons as head coach.
- With his 1-for-4 night at the plate on Friday, Stewart Ijames extended his hitting streak to eight games overall, which matches a career high set from May 13-24 in 2008.