Freshman INF Zach Lucas
March 18, 2012
Recap by Adam Pruiett, UofLsports.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Louisville baseball team likely would have done damage in the first inning if only a couple players were dialed in. Unfortunately for Ball State, the entire lineup was primed to perform.
The result was an ambush, as the No. 21 Cardinals unleashed eight runs, punctuated by consecutive homers from Stewart Ijames and Ty Young, in the opening frame in a 13-5 rout Sunday of Ball State at Jim Patterson Stadium.
The most astounding statistic of Louisville's initial outburst was the Cardinals (14-6) scored all eight of their runs against Ball State (3-12) with two outs. Then again, Louisville plated 10 of its 14 runs in Saturday's victory with two outs, so the Cardinals continued a theme. Another trend: Louisville scored in the first inning for the seventh straight game.
Thirteen Cardinals strode to the plate in the first inning and all nine starters reached base at some point. The frame initially seemed promising for Ball State starter Chris Marangon, who recorded the second out just moments after junior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC) singled to boost his hitting streak to 11 games. Things turned bleak in a hurry for Marangon, though, as Ijames (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) pulverized the first pitch he saw, sending a two-run homer well over the fence in right. Not to be outdone, Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) followed by launching a home run to right for the first round-tripper of his career.
The back-to-back shots were only the beginning. Freshman shortstop Zach Lucas (Louisville, Ky./Butler HS) and junior designated hitter Zak Wasserman (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore HS) both singled, sophomore catcher Kyle Gibson (Henderson, Ky./Henderson County HS) was hit by a pitch and sophomore outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) walked to force in a run. Sophomore centerfielder Adam Engel (Loveland, Ohio/Loveland HS) then smoked a line drive off the foot of Marangon, reaching safely for an RBI single. After Ratajczak forced in another run with a walk, Jacob Brewer relieved Marangon and sophomore leftfielder Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy HS) welcomed him with a two-run double to right for an 8-0 lead as nine straight batters reached base before Ball State finally recorded the third out.
Louisville tied a season high with 17 hits, a mark that was set the previous day. Lucas went 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI for the Cardinals, who swept the three-game series and have won four of five. Ijames was 2-for-5 with his seventh homer, and he added three RBI to push his team-best total to 25. Engel bumped his hitting streak to nine games with a 2-for-5 outing that included two RBI and two runs.
Young was 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI, Wasserman smoked an RBI single off the right field wall for one of his two hits, and Gardner tallied a hit and two RBI. Ratajczak, Gibson, sophomore Ryan Seiz (Perkasie, Pa./Christopher Dock HS), freshman Mason Snyder (Ottawa, Ill./Marquette Academy HS) and sophomore Alex Chittenden (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central HS) all had one hit apiece. Gibson was also reached by twice with HBP's while behind the plate, he successfully threw out a pair of Ball State baserunners.
Overshadowed by the overwhelming offensive display was a commanding outing by Travis Tingle (Louisville, Ky./Cleveland State CC). The senior right-hander struck out three over the first two innings and faced only one batter over the minimum through five innings. Tingle (3-1) notched the win after allowing two earned runs on five hits while striking out four over six innings. Sophomore right-hander Dace Kime (Defiance, Ohio/Defiance HS), Sturgeon and senior right-hander Derek Self (Cave City, Ky./Caverna HS) all pitched one inning of relief, with Sturgeon and Self both striking out two and allowing no runs.
Second baseman Elbert Devarie went 3-for-4 with three RBI for Ball State, and centerfielder Wes Winkle added two hits and two runs. Marangon (0-2) allowed eight earned runs on six hits in 0.2 innings pitched before giving way to three relievers.
Louisville will host Ohio State at 6 p.m., ET on Tuesday before welcoming Cincinnati in the Cardinals' first weekend series in BIG EAST play. Louisville and Cincinnati will meet at 6 p.m., on Friday and 1 p.m., on both Saturday and Sunday.