March 29, 2013
Box Score |
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Senior first baseman Zak Wasserman's RBI sacrifice fly to deep left field scored junior outfielder Coco Johnson in the ninth inning to lift the No. 10 Louisville baseball team to a series-clinching 2-1 walk-off win over 15th-ranked Notre Dame on Friday night at Jim Patterson Stadium.
With the win, the Cardinals improved to 21-5 overall and 3-2 BIG EAST Conference games while becoming the first team this season to win a weekend series against the Fighting Irish, who dropped to 15-8 on the season and 2-3 in league action. The two teams will conclude the weekend series on Saturday at 1 p.m., ET and admission is free.
After starting the ninth inning with a double to centerfield off Notre Dame closer Dan Slania, junior third baseman Ty Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) moved to third on a bunt single by Johnson (Benton Harbor, Mich./Central Arizona). Moments later, Johnson advanced to third when Young was tagged out in a run-down following a groundball off the bat of junior outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS), who reached second on the play. After freshman Danny Rosenbaum (Lafayette Hill, Pa./Plymouth Whitemarsh HS) was intentionally walked to load the bases, Wasserman (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore HS) sent a 1-2 pitch from Slania to deep right field allowing Johnson to score the game-winner.
On the mound, Louisville sophomore righty closer Nick Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South HS) struck out five in 1.2 innings of shutout relief to earn his first win of the season. Slania, who had not allowed a run in 19.2 innings of relief this season entering Friday's game, took his first loss of the season after allowing a run on two hits in 0.2 innings of relief.
Pitching controlled the action throughout Friday's game as starting pitchers Jeff Thompson (Greenville, Ind./Floyd Central HS) for Louisville and Adam Norton for Notre Dame led the way. Thompson, who entered the game riding streak of 21.1 innings of shutout baseball, held the Irish at bay for more than six innings before allowing a two-out RBI single in the seventh to catcher Forrest Johnson. The run halted Thompson's career best scoreless streak at 28.0 innings. Overall, Thompson allowed one run on four hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings to finish with his second straight no-decision.
On the other side, Norton allowed a run in the opening frame as junior outfielder Adam Engel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Loveland HS) walked, stole second for his team-leading 24th swipe of the season, moved to third on a groundout and then scored on an RBI sac fly by Young for the 1-0 lead. However, from there, Norton controlled the Cardinals stringing together seven straight scoreless frames before giving way to Slania. Norton closed his first no-decision by allowing just one run on five hits with three strikeouts in eight innings.
Overall, Johnson led the Louisville offense and was the only Cardinal with more than one hit going 3-for-4 with a run scored while making his first start since suffering an injury on March 15. He made a pinch hit plate appearance in Thursday's win over the Irish earning an eighth inning walk and later scoring in the 10-5 triumph. The Cardinals finished with a 7-5 edge in hits on Friday and won despite committing a season-high four errors.
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Postgame Louisville Notes
- Friday's game was the Cardinals' third walk-off win of the season, their fifth last at-bat victory and their fifth come-from-behind win.
- With Friday's win, Louisville holds a 15-8 advantage in the all-time series with Notre Dame, including an 8-5 edge at home.
- The Cardinals improved to 19-3 at home this season and 199-73 (.731 winning percentage) all-time in the ballpark since it opened in 2005.
- Through Friday's action, reliever Nick Burdi has made 10 scoreless appearances out of the Louisville bullpen this season. He has 32 strikeouts while allowing just five hits and four walks in 13.2 innings of shutout work. He also has five saves to go with his first win of the season.
- Despite earning his second straight no-decision on Friday, righty Jeff Thompson provided the Cardinals with his seventh straight quality start. On the season, Thompson is 5-0 with a 0.59 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 46.0 innings pitched while opposing hitters are batting just .150 against him.
- Friday marked the 17th time in 26 games this season the Cardinals have allowed two earned runs or less to an opponent.
- With their first inning run on Friday, Louisville improved to t 12-0 this season when scoring in the first inning and 18-2 when scoring first. Overall, the Cardinals have a 26-5 scoring edge in the opening frame.
- After dropping two of three to visiting Rutgers last weekend, the Cardinals successfully bounced back by clinching a series win Friday with their second straight win over the Irish. In seven seasons under the guidance of head coach Dan McDonnell, Louisville has never lost consecutive home series.