Louisville senior 1B Andrew Clark
March 27, 2010
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Andrew Clark's three-run double in the seventh inning propelled the No. 7 Louisville baseball team to a 4-2 series-clinching win over BIG EAST foe Connecticut in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader at Jim Patterson Stadium.
With two outs and Louisville (20-2, 2-0 BIG EAST) trailing 2-1 in the seventh, Clark hammered an 0-2 pitch from UConn (12-7, 0-2 BIG EAST) reliever Scott Oberg over the outstretched glove of Huskies' left fielder Billy Ferriter to clear the bases and give the Cardinals the lead for good. The comeback win was the 12th of the season for Louisville.
The scoring rally was setup as freshman Cade Stallings (Knoxville, Tenn./Farragut HS) singled and was replaced by freshman pinch runner Drew Fitzpatrick (Warren, Ohio/Cardinal Mooney HS), who then moved to second on a walk to junior outfielder Drew Haynes (New Albany, Ind./New Albany HS) by Nappo. After Oberg replaced Nappo on the mound, he served up a two-out walk to senior shortstop Adam Duvall (Louisville, Ky./Butler HS) to load the bases and set the stage for Clark.
It was the only hit of the game for Clark, who went 1-for-2 with two walks in Friday's win over the Huskies and his first game since Feb. 28. The New Palestine, Ind., native missed 13 games while recovering from a stress fracture in his left rib cage. Sophomore Ryan Wright (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead HS) added two hits for the Cardinals on Saturday, senior Jeff Arnold (Louisville, Ky./Male HS) added a hit and a run scored in the win.
On the mound, sophomore righty Derek Self (Cave City, Ky./Caverna HS) came out of the bullpen to pitch 2.2 innings of scoreless, one-hit relief to earn the win and improve to 4-0 on the season and 11-0 in his career. Junior righty Neil Holland (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) recorded the final four outs of the game with three strikeouts to earn his sixth save of the season and his second of the weekend. For the season, Holland has allowed only one earned run in 23.1 innings for a 0.39 ERA and has 28 strikeouts to go with his 3-0 record overall.
For UConn, Nappo took the loss after allowing three runs on four hits in 6.1 innings to fall to 2-3 on the season. Oberg finished the game for the Huskies allowing one run on two hits in 1.2 innings. At the plate, first baseman Mike Nemeth led the way for Connecticut going 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
After a scoreless first inning, UConn put the first run up in the second inning with a run on one hit on off Louisville starter Dean Kiekhefer (Louisville, Ky./Oldham County HS). Nemeth led off the inning by being hit by a pitch, moved to second a groundout by Kevin Vance and then scored on an RBI double to left field by catcher Doug Elliott for a 1-0 advantage.
The Cardinals evened the score in the bottom of the second with a run on one hit against Nappo. Junior third baseman Phil Wunderlich (Chicago, Ill./Downers Grove HS) started things with a one-out walk and moved to second with his sixth stolen base of the season on seven attempts. He then scored on an RBI single to center by Arnold to tie the score at 1-1 after two innings.
In the third inning, Louisville cut down a scoring chance for the Huskies as right fielder Stewart Ijames (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) gathered a single off the bat of Mike Olt and made a perfect throw home to Arnold for the tag on Ahmed, who was trying to score from second on the play. However, the Huskies did regain the lead in the fourth inning as Nemeth led off with a single to right field, moved to second on a single by Vance, advanced to third on a groundout by Elliott and then scored on an RBI groundout by second baseman Tim Martin for a 2-1 lead.
UConn had another scoring chance in the sixth as Nemeth led off the inning with a triple to right field, but the Huskies were unable to convert that into a run. After Kiekhefer, who allowed two runs on eight hits in 5.0 innings, was replaced on the mound by Self, he struck out Vance for the first out of the inning. Nemeth was then caught in a rundown after trying to steal home for the second out, and Elliott, who reached on a walk, was picked off at first base by Self to end the inning.