March 20, 2007
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - James Belanger worked 6.2 solid innings and Colby Wark closed things out as the University of Louisville baseball team picked up an 8-2 win over Ball State Tuesday afternoon. The Cards have now won four straight and 10 of their last 13.
"Belanger was very good today, throwing three pitches for strikes and getting ahead of the hitter most of the day," said Head Coach Dan McDonnell.
"Colby was good again and has been throwing really well the last few weeks."
The Cardinals (13-7)took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Freshman Jeff Arnold doubled off the top of the wall in left to open the inning and scored when Chris Cates reached on a bunt single. The late throw to first by BSU (8-11) pitcher Brad Piatt was wild, sending Cates to third. Boomer Whiting's sac fly to center plated Cates.
In the fourth it was Jorge Castillo doubling to lead off the frame and Chris Dominguez's single to center made it 3-0 Cards. Dominguez went to second when Ball State centerfielder Wayne Bond mishandled the base hit, and consecutive fly balls by Isaiah Howes and Pete Rodriguez advanced and scored Dominguez and upped the lead to 4-0.
Belanger (1-1) controlled the game through six innings, allowing a single to open the game, a pair of walks and a hit batter, retiring 10 straight at one point and facing just three over the minimum. In the seventh, consecutive singles with one out put two on, and an out later a ground ball that should have ended the inning was mishandled. Zach Dygert took advantage by belting a two-run single to trim the lead to two and chase Belanger, but Wark entered and fanned leadoff batter Jeremy Hazelbaker to end the inning and the threat.
U of L got the two runs back in the bottom of the seventh. Consecutive walks to Howes and Rodriguez was followed by a double steal, setting up a two-run single up the middle by pinch-hitter Alec Lowrey.
In the eighth, Howes hit an infield single with two out and stole second before scoring on Rodriguez RBI single to right. An error on the play moved him to second and Derrick Alfonso's single to center made it 8-2 Cards.
In earning the win Belanger finished the day with 6.2 innings of work, allowing two unearned runs on four hits and two walks, striking out two. Wark earned his first save with 2.1 innings, giving up a hit and striking out three. He has now fanned 21 batters in 14 innings this season.
Piatt took the loss, falling to 0-1 on the season. He surrendered two runs - one earned, on four hits, striking out two in three innings. Five other Ball State hurlers each went an inning out of the bullpen.
Whiting, Castillo and Dominguez each had two hits for the Cardinals, who notched their fifth consecutive double-digit hit game with 12. Whiting stole his 25th base on the season, placing him in a four-way tie for fifth - one off of his career high set in 2005 and five away from the school record of 30.
The bottom five in the order for U of L went 8 for 16 with seven runs and five RBI on the afternoon.
Louisville will travel to Richmond to face Eastern Kentucky Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. ET before opening BIG EAST play at Villanova Friday in the first of three against the Wildcats.