Louisville improves to 11-5 all-time against West Virginia, including 4-1 at home. The Cards have taken five of the past six meetings.
West Virginia's two first-inning runs on Saturday were the 19th and 20th scored against the Cards this season, compared to five for Louisville in the opening frame. The Cardinals have scored more than twice as many runs than their foes after the first (117 to 54), with Louisville pitching registering a 1.47 ERA from the fifth inning on this season.
Louisville stole three bases for the fourth straight game, all of which mark a season high. Of the 28 steals for U of L this season, 12 have come in the past four games.
The Cards scored in each of the second, third, fourth, and fifth innings, the first time Louisville has plated runs in four consecutive innings since the finale at Notre Dame last year (innings 4-7), a 13-3 victory.
A win in the rubber game on Sunday would give the Cardinals their eighth straight series win in conference play. Louisville's last BIG EAST series defeat came at Pittsburgh from April 9-11 last year. U of L has not dropped a conference series at home since Notre Dame took two of three in 2009 (April 24-26).
The Cardinals avoided losing the first two games of a home BIG EAST series for the first time since April 4-5, 2008 (St. John's). Louisville also avoided dropping below .500 in the conference since the squad was 4-5 after nine games in 2008.
U of L has now won its last four games following BIG EAST losses by seven or more runs, pounding out at least eight runs each time.
Games following seven-run BIG EAST losses (past four)
L 2-11 - Cincinnati (4.25.08)
W 13-4 - Cincinnati (4.26.08)
L 5-13 - Rutgers (5.17.08)
W 12-3 - vs. Seton Hall (5.20.08)
L 5-15 - at Pittsburgh (4.10.10)
W 9-7 - at Pittsburgh (4.11.10)
L 9-2 - West Virginia (4.1.11)
W 8-2 - West Virginia (4.2.11)
Sophomore Justin Amlung gave the Cards their 22nd start this season of two earned runs or fewer--only four times this year has a Louisville starter allowed 3+ earned runs in a game. As a team, Louisville has allowed two earned runs or fewer 18 times this year.
Louisville improves to 8-1 this year when not committing an error and 10-2 when facing left-handed starting pitchers.
Louisville Player Notes
Freshman Ty Young notched three RBI and scored a pair of runs in the game, both career bests. He has reached base safely in eight straight games since March 19.
When West Virginia third sacker Justin McDavid homered in the first inning on Saturday, he became the first opposing player to cross the plate against Amlung in the first three innings since May 28, 2010, a span of eight starts. Amlung had registered a streak of 18.2 consecutive scoreless frames over innings 1-3 entering that at bat.
The long ball snapped two other streaks for Amlung: 71.2 consecutive innings without allowing a homer (since April 28 of last year) and 80.2 straight innings in starts without surrendering a round tripper. Amlung had not allowed a home run in a starting assignment since his first career start on March 9, 2010, against Indiana.
Amlung allowed a first-inning run for the first time since March 30, 2010, when Indiana notched a pair of runs in the opening frame against the righty. Amlung has kept the opponent off the scoreboard in the first inning in 15 of 17 career starts, compiling a 2.12 ERA in the first inning of games.
The two-run outing snapped a streak of seven straight regular-season starts and six straight starts overall in which Amlung yielded one or zero earned runs. Amlung still has allowed two earned runs or less in all seven starts this season and in eight consecutive regular-season starts dating back to last year.
Amlung is the first Cardinal pitcher to allow two earned runs or fewer in seven straight starts since Zack Pitts in 2007 (seven from March 9-April 20). No Louisville hurler has had eight such starts in succession since at least the 2000 season.
Amlung has tossed 6.0 or more innings in every outing this year, all of which have been quality starts (6.0 innings or more, three earned runs or less). Pitts is also the last Cardinal hurler to have a longer stretch of quality starts, putting together eight consecutive quality outings from March 2-April 20, 2007 (the longest streak by a Cardinal in the last decade).
The win for Amlung was his fifth in as many starts, making him the first Cardinal to accomplish the feat since Scott Barber did so From Feb. 22-March 16, 2003. The last to win six consecutive starts was Zach Jackson in 2002 (six in a row from April 21-May 16).
Amlung is the first Louisville starting pitcher in the last 11 years to begin the season 6-0.
Since recording a 7.59 ERA and allowing 18 hits in 10.2 innings over his first three career starts, Amlung is 10-1 with a 1.36 ERA in 14 subsequent starts.
Freshman Jeff Gardner collected the first hit of his career in the second on Saturday, an infield base knock preceding a successful suicide squeeze by freshman Alex Chittenden. Gardner would follow that hit up with a single, a walk, and a double for a perfect 3-for-3 day at the dish.
Freshman Cole Sturgeon drew a free pass to open the game for the Cards, the fourth straight game in which he has picked up a base on balls. That streak is the longest by a Cardinal since Andrew Clark walked in five consecutive games from May 8-15 last season.
Senior Drew Haynes (212 games played) tied Darren Oppel (1990-93) for seventh on the Louisville career games played list. Next on the list is Matt Berger, who appeared in 215 contests from 1994-97.
Junior Ryan Wright's stolen base in the fifth was his 11th consecutive successful steal attempt dating back to his lone caught stealing last year (April 17 against the Mountaineers).
Haynes played in his 211th career game on Friday, leaving him one appearance shy of tying Darren Oppel (1990-93) for seventh on the Louisville all-time games played list.
Freshman Chad Green held the opposition off the board for the seventh time in eight career outings, lowering his ERA to 1.23.
Freshman Alex Chittenden recorded his seventh two-hit game in the last 16, finishing 2-for-2. In the game, Cardinal freshmen recorded six hits, seven RBI, and eight runs scored.
Chittenden is hitting .351 (20-for-57) since his season-opening 0-for-24 slide.