March 24, 2007
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - The University of Louisville split a doubleheader with Villanova Saturday to open BIG EAST play. The Cardinals lost a 1-0 heartbreaker in the ninth in the opener and slugged their way to an 11-2 win in the nightcap.
Cardinal pitchers allowed just three unearned runs on seven hits on the afternoon.
In the pitcher's duel that was game one, Villanova first baseman Dan Terpak doubled off the wall in left center and Jim Gillin was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second with nobody out in the bottom of the ninth. Matt McFolling laid down a sac bunt that was fielded by U of L pitcher Kyle Hollander, but his throw sailed over the bag at first, allowing the game winner to score.
Cardinal starter Zack Pitts was brilliant, working seven scoreless innings, allowing just three singles and a walk, while striking out a career-high nine. Only four balls left the infield against Pitts on the afternoon, and he has now worked 19.0 consecutive scoreless innings, but it wasn't enough.
Wildcat starter Mike Loree improved to 4-0 with an outstanding complete game effort, giving up just four hits and a walk while striking out one.
"Pitts was very good again, but we have to tip our hat to Loree," said Head Coach Dan McDonnell.
"I don't expect many people to contain our offense the way he did today. With that being said, we missed some opportunities to score, and against Friday night guys you don't get that many opportunities. Hopefully we learned our lesson."
Hollander's record fell to 0-1 with the loss. The senior struck out two in a perfect eighth before the trouble in the ninth.
Chris Dominguez belted a towering home run to left, his third of the season, to up the lead to 3-0 Cardinals.
Whiting, who had earlier extended his hit streak to a career-best 12 games, reached on a fielder's choice and stole second. The throw to second sailed into center field moving Whiting to third, and a fielding error on a routine ground ball by VU second baseman Ryan Poydenis made it 4-0 Louisville.
The Wildcats picked up a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth when Derek Shunk's sharply hit ground ball with the bases loaded got past Cates at short trimming the Cardinal lead to 4-2.
Cardinal game two pitcher Justin Marks was chased in the fifth, surrendering the two unearned runs on three hits and three walks, striking out four.
Colby Wark entered with the tying run on and induced a comebacker to end the inning.
"Obviously we responded in the second game with runs in each of the first four innings," McDonnell added.
"Marks gave us another quality start and Colby did a great job keeping the momentum going."
The Louisville offense then broke through for five runs in the top of the sixth.
Cates walked and Whiting singled ahead of an RBI single by Johnson. Whiting swiped his third bag of the day to tie the single season record of 30 set by Curtis Watson in 1985. An RBI single to left by Daniel Burton scored Whiting, and Jorge Castillo's sac bunt moved the runners up a station.
Shunk committed errors on consecutive plays at third, scoring two more Cardinal runs for the 9-2 lead.
Johnson doubled with one away in the U of L seventh and later scored on an RBI single by Castillo to make it 10-2. Johnson doubled again, this time with one out in the ninth and scored on another Wildcat error for the 11-2 final.
Wark (2-1) picked up the win, tossing 3.1 hitless innings, walking two and equalling his career-high with seven strikeouts. Andrew Salguiero struck out one in a 1-2-3 ninth, thanks in part to a spectacular play by Cates. The senior shortstop dove behind the second base bag on a ground ball by Wesley Borden and threw him out at first from his knees for the first out of the inning.
Villanova game two starter Bill Hoffman was touched for four runs - six earned on eight hits and four walks, striking out one in five innings as his record fell to 1-2.
Johnson finished the game going 4 for 6 with three runs and two driven in. He doubled three times in the doubleheader to place him in a tie for fifth place on the career list with J.T. LaFountain with 47 two-baggers. Whiting and Lowrey also had multi-hits games in game two.
The deciding game of the series will begin at 12:00 p.m. Sunday with U of L's Tyler Mathis (2-0, 3.67 ERA) facing VU's Roger Eidell (1-0, 6.20 ERA).