Wunderlich's Dramatic Home Run Lifts Louisville to 7-3 Win Over Pittsburgh

 
Louisville junior LHP Justin Marks

Louisville junior LHP Justin Marks

April 9, 2009

Box Score

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Junior lefty Justin Marks moved to the top of Louisville's all-time win list, while sophomore Phil Wunderlich delivered a game-winning three-run home run just two days after being hit in the face by a pitch and suffering a broken nose and fractured orbital bone to lead the Cardinals to a series-opening 7-3 victory over BIG EAST foe Pittsburgh on Thursday at Jim Patterson Stadium.

Marks, from Owensboro, Ky., allowed three runs on six hits with six strikeouts in 7.0 innings to improve to 5-2 this season, earn career win No. 23 as a Louisville Cardinal and surpass Brian Bentley (1997-2000) on top of the Cards' win list. Marks is 23-6 overall in his collegiate career and with his six strikeouts on Thursday, he has 239 career strikeouts in 244.2 innings and is only five K's away from passing Bentley as the program's all-time strikeout leader.

For Wunderlich, it's been a memorable week as the Chicago native hit a career-high three home runs in last Sunday's nationally televised game at Cincinnati, was hit in the face on a 3-2 pitch in the eighth inning of Tuesday's 15-1 home win over Indiana and was not expected to play in today's game because of swelling from the injuries to his face. However, after hours of treatment with trainer Pat Hassell and the addition of mask on his batting helmet, Wunderlich participated in batting practice prior to the game, was in the lineup as the Cards' designated hitter and delivered the game-winning home run.

With two outs, the game tied at 3-3 and two runners on base, Wunderlich hammered the first pitch from Pittsburgh lefty starter Nate Reed over the right field wall for his eighth home run of the season and the lead for good for the Cardinals (22-9, 6-4).

"I want to congratulate Justin on what has already been a great career as a Louisville Cardinal, and we all know that he will just continue to add to his legacy as this season moves forward," said Cards' head coach Dan McDonnell. "And for Phil, for what he's been through over the last couple of days with the injury, the hospital visits and really not knowing that he would be able to play until two hours before the game, I'm really happy that he got the chance to bounce back from all of that and took advantage of it the way he did."

 

 

Prior to Wunderlich's home run, Louisville tied the score at 3-3 with the Panthers (17-11, 4-6) as sophomore outfielder Josh Richmond doubled down the right field line, moved to third on a single to right by junior second baseman Adam Duvall and scored on an RBI groundout to second by junior third baseman Chris Dominguez. And before the RBI groundout, junior first baseman Andrew Clark walked for the second time in the game to put two runners on base for Wunderlich's two-out heroics.

Louisville added an insurance run after the home run as freshman Ryan Wright walked, moved to second on his fifth stolen base of the season and scored on a RBI single to center by junior catcher Jeff Arnold. Sophomore reliever Gabriel Shaw then replaced Marks to start the eighth inning and freshman closer Tony Zych came on in the ninth inning to record the final three outs for the Cardinals.

Along with Wunderlich, the Cardinals also got strong performances at the plate from Arnold, Duvall and Richmond. Arnold was 3-for-3 with a run scored, Duvall was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and Richmond was 2-for-5 with two runs scored. Dominguez also added a hit and two RBI in the win.

Louisville opened the scoring in the bottom of the first as Duvall doubled down the right field line, moved to third on a groundout to second by Clark and scored on a RBI single to left by Dominguez for a 1-0 Cardinals' lead.

The Cards added another run in the third inning as Richmond led off with a single to center, moved to third on a double down the left field line by Duvall and then scored on a RBI single through the right side by Clark for a 2-0 advantage after three innings.

After three scoreless innings, the Panthers took their first lead of the day in the seventh with three runs on two hits, including a bases-clearing three-run triple to left field by leftfielder John Schultz to score pinch runners Matt Litzinger and Chris Tonte, and second baseman Chris Sedon for a 3-2 Pitt lead. That set the stage for the Cards' five runs in the home half of the seventh to earn the win.

Reed took the loss for the Panthers after allowing seven runs on 12 hits in 7.0 innings, while Ricky Breymier worked a scoreless eighth inning for Pitt.

Game two of the BIG EAST series with Pitt is scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m., while Saturday's finale is set for 1 p.m. Louisville will conclude its five-game homestand at Jim Patterson Stadium on Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET, against Kentucky.

Louisville Notes
- With the win over Pittsburgh in the second of five straight at home, Louisville improved to an impressive 18-2 overall at Jim Patterson Stadium this season.

- Following his heroics on Thursday, sophomore Phil Wunderlich is not expected to be in the lineup for the rest of the weekend series with Pittsburgh as doctors will reset the Chicago native's broken nose on Friday.

- Trailing 3-2 after the top of the seventh, the Cardinals scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh to clinch their 15th come-from-behind victory this season.

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