No. 15 Baseball Wins Series-Opener with Villanova, 12-1

 
Junior RHP Justin Amlung


Junior RHP Justin Amlung

March 30, 2012

Box Score |  Quotes |  Notes

Recap by Adam Pruiett, UofLsports.com

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Louisville's Justin Amlung was the antithesis of Villanova's Kyle Helisek. The Cardinals' ace worked at warp speed on the mound compared to the deliberate pace of the Wildcats' hurler. The hasty approach won out.

In a BIG EAST matchup Friday night at Jim Patterson Stadium, Amlung matched his career high in strikeouts while allowing one hit, freshmen Zach Lucas and Mason Snyder got the offense in motion, and Zak Wasserman tattooed a three-run homer to put the finishing touch on a 12-1 victory over the Wildcats.

Amlung (Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier HS) won his third straight game with his most dominant outing yet for the Cardinals (19-7, 4-0 BIG EAST). The junior right-hander struck out nine batters for the third start in a row, setting the stage with five over the first two innings. He fanned at least one of the Wildcats (14-13, 1-3) in every inning but the sixth.

Second baseman Tyler Sciacca recorded Villanova's lone hit off Amlung with a single in the second inning. After catcher Adam Nelson successfully executed a squeeze bunt and reached base, Amlung retired 11 hitters in a row and 17 of 18. Amlung (5-2) allowed one hit and one unearned run over seven innings while striking out nine, walking none and hitting one batter.

Amlung struck out the side in the second inning, and sophomore right-hander Chad Green (Effingham, Ill./Effingham HS) and freshman left-hander Joe Filomeno (Cicero, Ill./St. Rita HS) duplicated the feat in the eighth and ninth, respectively. The trio teamed for a one-hitter and their 15 combined strikeouts matched a season high set previously against Cincinnati.

 

 

Louisville's offense didn't quite solve Helisek and his methodical style, and yet the Cardinals still chased him in the fifth inning. Youngsters Lucas (Louisville, Ky./Butler HS) and Snyder (Ottawa, Ill./Marquette Academy HS) were the sparkplugs. With two outs in the first inning, Lucas cranked a two-run double to left center. Snyder squibbed an RBI single in the third inning and punched a two-run double to right in the fifth for a 5-1 lead.

Louisville has scored in the first inning in 11 straight home games. Sophomore centerfielder Adam Engel (Loveland, Ohio/Loveland HS) lined a single to left field leading off to increase his hitting streak to 15 games. It's the longest such streak since Adam Duvall and Chris Dominguez both had 15-game streaks in 2009. Lucas has now hit safely in all 11 games since being appointed the starter at shortstop.

Helisek (2-3) allowed six earned runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings pitched. His troubles were amplified by walking three batters and hitting another three. Three more Wildcats pitched, with all three giving up two earned runs.

Louisville added to its comfortable lead with a six-run seventh inning. With two runners on, Wasserman (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore HS) came on to hit and creamed a 1-2 pitch over the fence in right for his fourth homer of the season. Junior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC) preceded Wasserman's blast with an RBI single.

Ty Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) reached base in all four of his plate appearances. The sophomore third baseman was 2-for-2 with two runs and was hit twice. Snyder finished 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs, and Lucas was 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run. Engel, Ratajczak, Wasserman, sophomore outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) and freshman Mike White (East Orange, N.J./Salisbury HS) had one hit apiece.

Louisville and Villanova will meet at 1 p.m., ET on Saturday at Jim Patterson Stadium in the second game of the series. The third will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

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