Louisville senior 1B Andrew Clark
April 1, 2010
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Senior first baseman Andrew Clark matched career highs with five hits and five RBI, while sophomore second baseman Ryan Wright had four hits and four RBI to match career highs and lead the No. 7 Louisville baseball team to a 12-4 series-opening win over Villanova on Thursday night at Jim Patterson Stadium.
With the win, Louisville improves to 22-3 overall and 3-1 in BIG EAST Conference play, while Villanova dropped to 17-5 overall and 2-2 in league play. The two teams will continue their series on Friday at 6 p.m. ET at Jim Patterson, while Saturday's series finale is set for 1 p.m. ET.
Clark (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine HS) finished 5-for-5 overall, including two home runs and his third career grand slam, and has hit safely in six straight plate appearances overall going back to Tuesday's game-winning ninth inning home run at Indiana. The five hits matched what he did against Evansville on March 24, 2009, while the five RBI performance was the third he has accomplished that feat. In his five games since returning from a stress fracture in his rib cage, Clark is hitting .474 with three home runs and 11 RBI.
Wright (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead HS) finished 4-for-5 at the plate, including his sixth home run of the season, while the four-RBI performance was the third of his career. Wright lifted his season average to .400 overall for the team lead among players with a qualified number of plate appearances.
Freshman Zak Wasserman (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore HS) extended his career-best hitting streak to five games with a 2-for-4 night and two RBI, while senior catcher Jeff Arnold (Louisville, Ky./Male HS) also hit it well at the plate with a 3-for-4 performance and two runs scored.
On the mound, junior righty Thomas Royse (Lexington, Ky./Dunbar HS) stayed unbeaten on the season and improved to 6-0 overall after allowing four runs on a career-high 10 hits with six strikeouts in 6.1 innings. Senior righty Tyler Mathis (Covington, Tenn./Covington HS) followed with 1.2 innings of one-hit relief, while freshman Matt Koch (Cherokee, Iowa/Cherokee HS) made his collegiate debut with 1.0 inning of scoreless relief to close out the game.
For Villanova, righty starter Brian Streilein took the loss after allowing 10 runs on 14 hits in 5.1 innings to drop to 3-1 on the season. At the plate, third baseman David Koczirka led the way going 2-for-4 with two RBI, while left fielder Dain Hall was 2-for-4 with two runs scored in the loss.
The Cardinals opened the scoring in the first inning as Clark belted his first home run of the night and his fourth of the season, a solo shot to right center off Streilein for a 1-0 advantage. It was the second straight plate appearance with a home run for Clark, who hit a game-winning two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 5-4 win at Indiana.
The Wildcats evened the score at 1-1 in the second inning as first baseman Kevin Wager was hit by a pitch from Royse and scored on an RBI two-out triple by shortstop Marlon Calbi.
Louisville regained the lead in the bottom of the second as Arnold tripled to right center and scored on an RBI double to right field by Wasserman for a 2-1 advantage.
Villanova bounced back for its first lead of the night in the third with two runs on three hits in the inning. After reaching base with an infield single and moving to third on a single to left by Hall, center fielder Justin Bencsko scored on a delayed double steal to tie the score at 2-2. Moments later, Hall scored from second on an RBI single to left center by Koczirka for a 3-2 lead.
The Cardinals bounced back in the fourth inning with five runs on five hits, highlighted by the grand slam for Clark. Arnold started things with a one-out single to right center and then scored on an RBI double down the left field line by Wasserman to even the score at 3-3. After an infield single by junior center fielder Drew Haynes (New Albany, Ind./New Albany HS) and a walk to senior second baseman Adam Duvall (Louisville, Ky./Butler HS) loaded the bases, Clark sent the first pitch he saw from Streilein over the wall in left center for his fifth home run of the season and a 7-3 Louisville lead.
The Wildcats cut the deficit to 7-4 in the fifth inning as Hall reached base with a bunt single, moved to second on a single to right by designated hitter Chris Johnson and scored on an RBI single to center by Koczirka.
However, Louisville added to its lead an inning later with three runs on four hits to push the margin to 10-4 after six innings. After Duvall started things with a single up the middle and moved to third on a double down the right field line by Clark, both players scored on a two-run double down the left field by Wright for the first two runs of the inning. Junior third baseman Phil Wunderlich (Chicago, Ill./Downers Grove HS) followed with an RBI down the left field line to score Wright for the six-run advantage.
The Cardinals added to more runs in the eighth inning as Clark singled to right field and scored on the two-run homer to left field by Wright, his sixth homer of the season, for the final margin.
- With Thursday's win, Louisville improved to 12-2 overall against Villanova and extended its winning streak against the Wildcats to five straight.
- After trailing 3-2 in the third inning, the Cardinals scored five runs in the fourth to take the lead for good en route to their 14th come-from-behind win of the season.
- With Thursday night's crowd of 2,078, Louisville has surpassed the 2,000 mark in seven games this season and is averaging 1,513 fans in 17 home games this season at Jim Patterson Stadium.