Louisville senior John Dao scored the winning run on Saturday.
March 28, 2009
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - Senior shortstop John Dao scored on a single by sophomore outfielder Josh Richmond to plate the winning run as the 28th-ranked Louisville baseball team survived one of the longest games in school history to earn an 8-6 comeback win over Seton Hall in 17 innings in the first of two games between the two teams on Saturday at Owen T. Carroll Field.
The 17 innings on Saturday matched Louisville's 17-inning, 3-2 win over St. Xavier College on May 24, 1909, as the longest games in school history. Saturday's win over the Pirates required five hours, 30 minutes to complete and featured 12 total pitchers between the two teams (seven for Louisville, five for Seton Hall).
Louisville's game-winning 17th inning started with Dao's lead off walk off Seton Hall reliever Collin McGowan. After senior Kyle Cheesebrough successfully advanced Dao to second on a sacrifice bunt, the Cards' captain moved to third on a wild pitch by McGowan. Richmond then singled to right center to score Dao and give the Cardinals a 7-6 advantage. Duvall walked to put runners on first and second, but Richmond was caught stealing at third on a pick-off play by the Pirates.
Senior first baseman Andrew Clark followed with a walk to move Duvall to second with two outs for junior third baseman Chris Dominguez, who singled to left field to score Duvall and give the Cards their 8-6 lead.
In the bottom of the 17th, Louisville (17-7, 3-2 BIG EAST) turned to freshman righty Mike Nastold to close the game and the Cincinnati native delivered. After pitching into the seventh inning to earn his second career win in the Cards' victory over Evansville on Tuesday, Nastold allowed only one hit and recorded the final three outs on Saturday for his first career save and even the weekend series with Seton Hall (12-8, 3-2 BIG EAST) at 1-1.
Two other school records set by Louisville in Saturday's game was most at-bats in a game as Andrew Clark, Dominguez and Ryan Wright finished with eight each, while Clark set a new school record with 20 putouts breaking the previous mark of 19 set in 1999 by Doug Lorenz.
The game opened with the Cardinals taking an early lead in the second as freshman Ryan Wright singled to center off Seton Hall starter Keith Cantwell, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI triple to right center by junior catcher Jeff Arnold for a 1-0 lead. Arnold then scored from third on an RBI groundout to first by Dao for a 2-0 lead for Louisville.
Seton Hall came back for an unearned run in the home half of the second as first baseman Chris Spagnuolo scored from third on an RBI groundout by right fielder Michael Rogers to make it 2-1 after two innings. Spagnuolo reached base on a one-out single off Louisville starter Thomas Royse, advanced to second on a single to right by catcher Frank Esposito and then moved to third as Cards' right fielder Josh Richmond misplayed the ball for just his second error of the season.
An inning later, the Pirates took their first lead of the game with two runs on two hits. Second baseman Sean Gusrang led off the inning with a double to right field and then scored on a triple to right field by left fielder Bobby Abreu to tie the game at 2-2. Shortstop A.J. Rusbarsky followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to score Abreu and give Seton Hall a 3-2 advantage after three innings.
Louisville came back to tie the game at 3-3 in the fifth as sophomore outfielder Drew Haynes led off with an infield single, advanced to second on a walk to Richmond, moved to third on a groundout by Clark and then scored on a wild pitch from Cantwell.
Seton Hall regained the lead in the sixth with two runs on five hits and a 5-3 advantage. Rusbarsky led off the inning with a single, advanced to second on wild pitch, moved to third on a single by Smedberg and then scored on a groundout by Chris Affintio for the first run of the inning. The second run came as Smedberg scored on a single to center by Esposito.
The score remained that way until the eighth inning when the Cards scored one run without a hit to pull to within 5-4. After retiring the first two hitters, Seton Hall reliever George Fernandez walked Arnold. Dao then reached on an error by the second baseman Gusrang and pinch hitter Alec Lowrey loaded the bases with a walk. Richmond then earned an RBI by taking yet another walk to score Arnold from third.
With the game on the line, Louisville came through in the ninth with another run as sophomore Phil Wunderlich picked up a two-out double to keep the inning going. After sophomore Nate Holland entered the game to pinch run, Wright connected on a single off Seton Hall reliever Matt Singer to score Holland and tie the game.
The Cards were able to send the game to extra innings in the bottom of the ninth as Zych entered the game with a runner on second and only one out, but got out of the jam with a groundout to first and a line out to second. After escaping the ninth inning, Zych got out of several other jams in his 4.2 innings of shutout relief as the Pirates got the potential winning run on third base again in the 10th and 12th without scoring and got another runner to second base in the 13th without scoring a run.
In the 14th inning, the Cards took a 6-5 lead on an RBI single through the left side by Dao to score Ryan Wright from second after he had singled and advanced on a walk to Arnold. However, the Pirates came back with a run in the bottom of the 14th as Affinito singled to right field off Louisville reliever Bob Revesz to score Rusbarsky. Seton Hall went on to get the bases loaded with only one out in the inning, but Derek Self came on to strike out Frank Esposito and force Rogers into fly out to center field to get out of the jam.
The scored stayed tied at 6-6 until the 17th inning when the Cards made their final rally to clinch the win. Dao finished the day 3-for-7 from the plate with two RBI and the game-winning run, while Wright was 3-for-8 with one RBI and two runs scored. Richmond was 2-for-7 with his RBI, while Arnold was 2-for-5 with one RBI and two runs scored.
On the mound, Royse allowed four earned runs on seven hits with four strikeouts in 5.1 innings as the Cards' starter, while Cantwell allowed three runs on five hits with seven strikeouts as the Pirates' starter.
Up next, the Cards will stay on the road for a game at Purdue on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, in West Lafayette, Ind., before returning home for a Wednesday game against Ball State at 6 p.m. at Jim Patterson Stadium.