March 31, 2012
Box Score |
Recap by Adam Pruiett, UofLsports.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Another day, another dominant pitching performance. Unfortunately for the Louisville baseball team, this time it was delivered by a Villanova hurler.
Pat Young kept Louisville's explosive offense under wraps, and the Wildcats collected 10 hits a day after tallying just one in a 5-2 victory over the No. 15 Cardinals in BIG EAST action on Saturday at Jim Patterson Stadium.
It was the first loss in conference play for Louisville (19-8, 4-1 BIG EAST), which opened the series with a 12-1 victory over Villanova (15-13, 2-3) behind a combined one-hitter from Justin Amlung (Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier HS), Chad Green (Effingham, Ill./Effingham HS) and Joe Filomeno (Cicero, Ill./St. Rita HS). In a turnabout, Young yielded five hits and one earned run while striking out two and walking one over eight commanding innings to improve to 4-3.
Despite Young's brilliant outing, Louisville still had a chance to tie or go ahead in the ninth before a highly controversial call ended the game. With runners on first and third with two outs, junior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC) hit a hard ground ball off Villanova reliever Julian Diaz a few feet to the left of second base. Villanova shortstop Marlon Calbi shuffled over to field the ball behind second but bobbled the grounder. After corralling the ball a step away from the bag, he lunged toward second with his leg just as Louisville pinch runner Matt Helms (Eufaula, Okla./Seminole State CC) arrived sliding into the bag.
Calbi then tried to get Ratajczak but sailed a throw over first base and into the Cardinals' dugout, presumably giving Louisville runners at second and third trailing 5-3 with No. 3 hitter Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy HS) coming to the plate. However, to the shock of many at the stadium, the umpire ruled Calbi beat Helms to the bag for the third out. Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell vehemently contested the call before the umpiring crew exited the field.
The save was the first of the season for Diaz. He came on after Young hit junior first baseman Zak Wasserman (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore HS) leading off the ninth. Freshman catcher Cameron O'Brien (Tulsa, Okla./Bishop Kelley HS) then yanked a single to right before Diaz induced a pair of pop outs, setting up the disputed last out.
Zach Lucas (Louisville, Ky./Butler HS) drove in both of Louisville's runs. The freshman shortstop had an RBI ground out in the fourth inning and an RBI single with two outs in the eighth inning. Lucas pushed his hitting streak to 12 games, although sophomore centerfielder Adam Engel (Loveland, Ohio/Loveland HS) saw his streak end at 15 games.
O'Brien had two hits while Lucas, Gardner, Ratajczak and sophomore leftfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) had one apiece. Gardner not getting another chance at the plate was particularly frustrating for Louisville considering he singled in his previous at-bat and had reached base three straight times.
For the most part, Young limited Louisville's scoring opportunities. The Cardinals only had two runners in scoring position over the first six innings. They got a pair of runners on base with two outs in the seventh before Young regrouped to get a ground out.
Villanova scored one run apiece in the second and third innings. In the second, centerfielder Paul Rambaud laid down the Wildcats' third straight bunt on a successful squeeze play. Designated hitter Steve Schrenk had a sacrifice fly in the third, and Villanova's three-run fifth inning began with back-to-back triples by third baseman Kevin Wager and leftfielder Matt Fleishman. Wager was 3-for-5 to lead the Wildcats.
Jeff Thompson (Greenville, Ind./Floyd Central HS) suffered his first loss for Louisville. The sophomore right-hander, who is now 5-1, allowed five runs - two earned - on eight hits and struck out five over 4.2 innings. Sophomore right-hander Dace Kime (Defiance, Ohio/Defiance HS) and junior right-hander Matt Koch (Cherokee, Iowa/Cherokee Washington HS) teamed for strong relief work. Kime pitched 2.2 innings of scoreless relief and Koch didn't allow a run in 1.2 innings. The duo combined for three strikeouts.
Louisville and Villanova will conclude the series at 1 p.m., ET on Sunday at Jim Patterson Stadium.
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