Senior Stewart Ijames hit his sixth home run of the season.
March 17, 2012
Recap by Adam Pruiett, UofLsports.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Louisville baseball team didn't need four-leaf clovers or a pot of gold on Saturday. The Cardinals had their own good luck charm in Stewart Ijames.
With Ijames leading the charge on St. Patrick's Day, No. 21 Louisville had its most prolific game offensively of the season, piling up 17 hits in a 14-5 romp over Ball State at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Every Cardinals starter tallied at least one hit, with Ijames (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) slamming a three-run homer in the second inning to pave the way for an onslaught of runs. Perhaps most impressive was that Louisville (13-6) scored 10 of its runs against Ball State (3-11) with two outs. The Cardinals' runs this season have often been produced in bunches, but they came in a steady stream on Saturday, with two coming across in the first, four in the second, three in the fourth and sixth, and one apiece in the fifth and eighth.
Louisville's previous high for hits was 15. The Cardinals set the new mark in the sixth inning when sophomore centerfielder Adam Engel (Loveland, Ohio/Loveland HS) lined an RBI single to center. The ceiling for runs had been 13 until freshman second baseman Sutton Whiting (Louisville, Ky./Ballard HS) brought in the 14th run in the eighth inning on a fielder's choice.
Ijames drove in runs in each of his first three at-bats. The Cardinals' rightfielder cracked an RBI double down the right field line in his first appearance against Ball State starter T.J. Weir (0-4) and then, with two runners on in the second, he sent a soaring drive over the right center fence for his sixth home run and a 6-2 lead. He added a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning and finished 2-for-3 with a homer, double, two runs and five RBI.
Junior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC) remained red-hot at the plate for Louisville, which has won three of four. Ratajczak whacked a double to left in his first at-bat to extend his hitting streak to 10 games and added another double in the fourth that sparked a three-run inning. Ratajczak went 2-for-4 with three runs and is 22-for-40 during his streak with six multi-hit games.
Sophomore right-hander Jeff Thompson (Greenville, Ind./Floyd Central HS) upped his record to 4-0 after allowing five hits and three earned runs with three walks while striking out six in six innings. Freshman left-hander Joe Filomeno (Cicero, Ill./St. Rita HS) pitched two innings of scoreless relief, yielding just one hit and striking out four before junior right-hander Andy Flett (Fenton, Mo./Lindbergh HS) pitched the ninth.
Leftfielder Kirby Campbell went 2-for-4 for Ball State, including a two-run triple in the second inning off Thompson that knotted it at 2-2. Shortstop Elbert Devarie also had two hits for Ball State. Weir allowed nine hits and nine earned runs in 3.2 innings before three other pitchers finished things out.
Louisville and Ball State will conclude their three-game series at 1 p.m. Sunday.