March 14, 2009
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
Behind seven scoreless innings on the mound from junior lefty Justin Marks, the 25th-ranked Louisville baseball team stayed unbeaten at home and won its sixth straight game overall with a 7-2 victory over Iowa on Saturday at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Marks, a preseason All-American from Owensboro, Ky., matched a career-high with 11 strikeouts and allowed only four hits in a season-high 7.0 innings of work to improve to 2-1 in 2009. The preseason BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year has run his scoreless streak to 11.1 innings with his second straight win.
"Justin was very good today and he had great command on the mound for our team," said Cards' head coach Dan McDonnell. "That was his best performance of the season. He had to overcome some adversity early, but he made great pitches to get through it."
With the win, Louisville (10-4) improves to 9-0 at Jim Patterson Stadium this season and continues its best start at home since winning the first 10 of the 1999 season at Cardinal Stadium. The Cardinals have also won a season-best six straight overall.
Leading the way for the Louisville bats on Saturday was John Dao, Adam Duvall, Ryan Wright and Phil Wunderlich, who had two hits each and scored six of the Cards' seven runs against Iowa (2-8). Dao, who was the Cards' designated hitter and made his first start since returning from a knee injury, finished 2-for-4 with one RBI and a run scored, while freshman shortstop Ryan Wright extended his hitting streak to 13 games with his 2-for-4 day with one RBI and two runs scored.
Wunderlich, a sophomore utility player from Chicago, continued his hot hitting of late going 2-for-4 with one run scored and one RBI, while Duvall, the Cards' junior second baseman, extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a 2-for-5 performance with two runs scored.
The Cardinals opened the scoring in the second inning as Dao's infield single off Hawkeyes' starter Nick Brown scored Wright from third after he had reached on a fielder's choice earlier in the inning. Louisville then made it 2-0 in the fourth inning as Wright singled, advanced to second on a walk by sophomore outfielder Drew Haynes
, moved to third on a fielder's choice off the bat of Dao and scored on a throwing error by Iowa second baseman Chett Zeise.
An inning later, Louisville extended its lead to 3-0 as Wunderlich walked, advanced to second on a single by sophomore outfielder Josh Richmond and scored on a single through the left side by Wright.
The Cardinals then doubled their lead with a three-run sixth inning, which started with a single by Dao singled and a double to left field by Duvall. After a five-pitch walk to junior third baseman Chris Dominguez to load the bases, Brown was replaced on the mound by reliever Jarred Hippen. Moments later, Dao scored on a wild pitch from Hippen to make it 4-0 Louisville.
U of L extended its lead to 5-0 on an RBI single by Wunderlich to score Duvall and then made it 6-0 as Dominguez scored on a fielder's choice by Richmond.
After Iowa scored a pair of unearned runs in the eighth off Louisville freshman reliever Derek Self, the Cards added a final run in the bottom of that inning as Duvall singled through the right side, advanced to second on another walk to Dominguez, stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Richmond.
Brown lost his first game of the season after giving up six runs, five earned, on 10 hits and four walks in 5.1 innings.
Louisville continues its nine-game home stand with two more games against Iowa on Sunday at 1 p.m., and Monday at noon and admission is free for both games.
- The six-game winning streak for the Cards is their longest of the season and their best since winning 10 straight last season.
- Along with Wright and Duvall, junior third baseman Chris Dominguez and senior outfielder Alec Lowrey also extended their hitting streaks on Saturday. Dominguez was 1-for-3 with a run scored and has now hit safely in eight straight games overall. Lowrey finished 1-for-3 and has hit safely in seven straight this season.
- With their 10-4 record, the Cards are off to their best 14-game start since the 2003 season when they also started 10-4.