Louisville won its sixth game in the past seven meetings with West Virginia, improving to 12-5 in the overall series. U of L is 6-1 all-time at home versus the Mountaineers.
The win moves head coach Dan McDonnell's record to 8-5 in BIG EAST rubber games, including 5-2 at home. Louisville has won five of its past six deciding games in league play at Jim Patterson Stadium, losing only against Notre Dame (by one run) on April 26, 2009.
The Cards have taken each of their past three BIG EAST rubber games dating back to the loss to the Irish.
Louisville has now won eight consecutive BIG EAST series since Pittsburgh took two out of three in the Steel City last season (April 9-11). The Cards have won seven straight three-game conference sets at home since the aforementioned Notre Dame series.
The Cardinals continued their domination of the second halves of games this year, outscoring WVU 3-1 after the fourth inning on Sunday and 7-1 over the last two games of the series. Through 27 games this season, Louisville has outplated its foes 83-33 from the fifth inning on.
Louisville held its opponent under five runs for the 23rd time in 27 games this year. The Cardinals also allowed less than three earned runs for the 19th time in 2011 and had their starter allow fewer than three earned tallies for the 23rd time.
Louisville Player Notes
Sophomore starter Mike Nastold bounced back from rough first innings his last two outings (three runs each time) to retire the Mountaineers in order in the opening frame on Sunday, collecting his first first-inning strikeout this season in the process. Nastold, who has a 7.71 ERA in the first inning this year, had faced 29 batters previously in the opening inning without recording a punchout.
After the first inning, however, Nastold has been virtually untouchable in 2011--when West Virginia tallied a pair of unearned runs on a dropped fly ball in the third inning, it marked the first time Nastold had allowed a run after the first inning since his last appearance before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2009 (April 19 at Rutgers). Nastold still has not allowed an earned run in 24.0 innings pitched after the first this season.
Nastold, first inning this season
ERA OPP AVG IP H R ER BB SO
7.71 .296 7.0 8 7 6 4 1
Nastold, after the first
ERA OPP AVG IP H R ER BB SO
0.00 .183 24.0 15 2 0 12 23
In addition to not allowing an earned run after the first this year, Nastold has also not allowed a home run in 2011, giving him a streak of 33.2 homer-free innings dating back to his final start of 2009.
Nastold has allowed three earned runs or less in nine straight starts going back to his outing against Evansville (four earned runs) on March 24, 2009. His ERA over that stretch is a dazzling 1.80. As a team, Louisville has allowed only 13 runs in Nastold's seven starts this year.
The 5.1 innings were a season high for Nastold, as were his five strikeouts.
Freshman Ryan Seiz smacked his first career triple in the game and later added a double, giving him six extra-base hits in the last seven games (three doubles, a triple, and two home runs). Seiz is the first Louisville freshman to have six extra-base hits in a seven-game window since current junior Stewart Ijames had seven (five doubles and two home runs) in his final seven games of the 2008 season.
Seiz is hitting .406 over his last 32 at bats.
Seiz became the first Cardinal freshman to double and triple in the same game since Chris Dominguez at Seton Hall on April 20, 2007. The last true freshman to do it was Boomer Whiting at Evansville on April 1, 2003 (Dominguez was a redshirt freshman in '07 after taking a medical redshirt in `06). Seiz joins junior Stewart Ijames and sophomore Cade Stallings as Cardinals to have a double and a triple in a single game in 2011.
Senior J.J Ethel capped off a 4-for-7 series with a pair of hits in four times up on Sunday. Ethel and freshman Jeff Gardner combined to go 7-for-10 at the catcher position in the series.
Gardner made his second consecutive start on Sunday (and the third of his career), opening the game as the designated hitter. A day after going 3-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored, he went 3-for-4 with a run scored, a stolen base, and two RBI, giving him six hits in seven at bats since starting his career 0-for-8.
Gardner is the first Louisville player to record back-to-back three hit games since Andrew Clark did so May 11-14 of last season (4-for-7 at Vanderbilt and 3-for-4 against St. John's) and the first freshman to accomplish the feat since Kyle Grieshaber last year (3-for-5 against Ball State on March 20 and 3-for-4 versus Evansville on March 23).
Freshman Cole Sturgeon reached base safely for the ninth consecutive game, finishing 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. The center fielder is batting .345 (10-for-29) during that stretch with four runs scored, four RBI, six walks, and three stolen bases.
Reliever Derek Self tossed another scoreless relief outing on Sunday, the 15th straight appearance out of the pen in which Self has surrendered one run or less. Over that span, Self has allowed just two earned runs in 30.2 innings for an ERA of 0.59. He has 22 strikeouts and only five walks in those 15 games.
Self's scoreless streak now sits at 13.2 innings since USC scratched across a third-inning run off of the righty on March 16. Over his last 15 appearances overall dating back to last season, Self has registered an ERA of 1.05.
Self, last 15 appearances
Record ERA IP H R ER BB SO
2-0 1.05 34.1 25 5 4 7 24
Self, last 15 relief appearances
Record ERA IP H R ER BB SO
2-0 0.64 30.2 22 3 2 5 22
Hits by Dan DiBartolomeo and Grant Buckner in the eighth were just the fourth and fifth surrendered by Self in his last 11.1 innings. Opposing batters are hitting .163 (7-for-43) against Self during his scoreless streak.
Self tied a career best with five strikeouts in the game. The five Ks tie for the most by a Cardinal reliever since Tony Zych had six in 2.1 innings against Seton Hall on April 25 of last season.
Zych's scoreless streak ended at 7.0 innings on a two-out, two-strike bloop RBI base hit by Isac Franklin in the ninth inning. Zych had put together six straight scoreless outings entering the game.
Senior Drew Haynes moved into sole possession of sixth place on the school's all-time games played list, appearing in his 213th career contest. He is two games shy of tying Matt Berger (1994-97) for sixth.