April 1, 2012
Box Score |
Recap by Adam Pruiett, UofLsports.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - There were fireworks Sunday in the first inning at Jim Patterson Stadium - and in more ways than one. Eruptions came from both the Louisville baseball team's offense and Villanova head coach Joe Godri.
The No. 15 Cardinals returned to imposing their will in the opening inning, Godri didn't get to witness the totality of the damage after being ejected after arguing the second controversial call in as many days, and Travis Tingle consistently dodged trouble in an effective outing that helped net Louisville a 6-1 victory in BIG EAST play.
Following its sweep of Cincinnati the weekend prior, Louisville (20-8, 5-1 BIG EAST) won the series over Villanova (15-14, 2-4) after winning two of the three games. In the Cardinals' 5-2 loss on Saturday, the game ended on a disputed call at second base when it appeared Louisville's runner beat a force out attempt. Had Louisville gotten the call, the Cardinals would have had the tying run at second base with No. 3 hitter Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy HS) in the batter's box.
Louisville was on the beneficial end of a controversial call on Sunday. After junior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC) tagged a double to left, Gardner grounded into the hole between first and second. Villanova second baseman Tyler Sciacca ranged over but didn't come up with the ball cleanly. As he recovered the ball, Ratajczak broke toward home. Sciacca's throw to catcher Adam Nelson easily beat Ratajczak, who halted his sprint down the line several feet before the plate. Nelson chased Ratajczak down, tagged him and fired to second to try to get Gardner, who slid safely into the bag.
Stunningly, though, the play wasn't over. The home plate umpire ruled Ratajczak safe on the tag attempt, which allowed the Cards' infielder to cross the plate unopposed. The umpire's apparent ruling was Nelson exchanged the ball from his glove to his throwing hand before he tagged Ratajczak with his mitt. For Ratajczak to have been out by a tag with Nelson's glove, Nelson had to have been holding the ball in his mitt.
Godri raced out of the dugout to dispute the call. With Nelson's catcher's mask in his right hand, Godri argued with the umpire for several moments. Godri then slammed the mask to the ground, prompting his ejection.
Louisville took advantage of the situation. Senior first baseman Stewart Ijames (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) flared an RBI single to left center, freshman shortstop Zach Lucas (Louisville, Ky./Butler HS) walked and sophomore third baseman Ty Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) lined an RBI single to right for a 3-1 lead.
The Cardinals tacked on two more runs in the second inning. After sophomore rightfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) notched a bunt single and Ratajczak was hit, Gardner rifled an RBI single to center and Ijames added an RBI on an infield single deep up the middle. Villanova starter Stephen Ostapeck (2-1), the reigning BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week, only lasted 1.1 innings, allowing five earned runs on seven hits.
On the other hand, Tingle (Louisville, Ky./Cleveland State CC) didn't allow an earned run over six innings while recording his fifth win against one loss. The senior right-hander worked his way out of several jams, as the Wildcats left two runners on in the third and fourth innings, respectively, and left the bases loaded in the sixth when Tingle made the stab on a line drive by centerfielder Paul Rambaud with two outs. Tingle struck out five while allowing seven hits and three walks.
Louisville's bullpen had another terrific outing. Sophomore right-hander Chad Green (Effingham, Ill./Effingham HS), freshman right-hander Nick Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South HS) and senior right-hander Derek Self (Cave City, Ky./Caverna HS) all pitched one inning of scoreless relief. Green struck out two, Burdi didn't allow a baserunner and Self sealed the win by inducing a pop out by Villanova No. 3 hitter Matt Fleishman.
Ratajczak reached base four times for Louisville, which collected 10 hits. Ratajczak was 2-for-3 with a double and two runs, and he was hit twice. Gardner was also 2-for-3, Ijames was 2-for-4 with two RBI and Sturgeon was 2-for-4. Young and sophomore Alex Chittenden (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central HS) both had one hit.
In the fifth inning, Young was hit leading off, stole second and eventually scored on a squeeze bunt by sophomore catcher Kyle Gibson (Henderson, Ky./Henderson County HS). Young stole two bases to boost his season total to nine. Lucas' hitting streak was stopped at 12.
Louisville hosts Western Kentucky at 6 p.m., ET on Tuesday before traveling to Georgetown for a three-game set. The Cardinals and Hoyas will play at 3 p.m., ET on Thursday, at 4 p.m. on Friday and at noon on Saturday.
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