April 9, 2010
PITTSBURGH, Pa. -
Despite home runs from sophomore Ryan Wright and freshman Cade Stallings, the No. 6 Louisville baseball team dropped its first series opener of the season with an 8-3 defeat at Pittsburgh on a cold and windy Friday afternoon at Trees Field.
With the loss, Louisville dropped to 24-5 overall and 5-2 in BIG EAST Conference games, while Pittsburgh improved to 21-7 overall, 5-2 in league games and 6-0 at home with the win. The Cardinals and Panthers will continue their weekend series on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET, while Sunday's series finale is set for Sunday at noon. Prior to Friday's loss, Louisville had won all of its previous six weekend series openers this season.
At the plate, Wright (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead HS) hit his eighth home run of the season, Stallings (Knoxville, Tenn./Farragut HS) picked up his second homer of the season and junior outfielder Drew Haynes (New Albany, Ind./New Albany HS) went 2-for-4 with a run scored to highlight an otherwise tough day for the Louisville offense. The Cardinals, who left nine runners on base, were out-hit 14-7 in losing back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Making his eighth start of the season, Louisville junior righty Thomas Royse (Lexington, Ky./Dunbar HS) picked up his first loss after allowing six runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work to fall to 6-1 overall. Pittsburgh starter Corey Baker improved to 7-0 on the season after allowing three runs on six hits in 7.0 innings to earn the win. The Panthers were led at the plate by Cory Brownsten and Kevan Smith, who each finished 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored in the win, which halted a four-game losing skid for Pittsburgh against Louisville.
The Cardinals opened the scoring in the first inning as Wright sent a 1-0 pitch from Baker over the right field wall for an early 1-0 advantage. However, the lead was short-lived as Pitt bounced back with three runs on three hits in the bottom of the first. Travis Whitmore started the scoring with an RBI single to right center to score Joe Leonard to even the score at 1-1. Moments later, Smith had a two-run double to right center to plate David Chester and Whitmore for a 3-1 advantage.
After a pair of scoreless innings, Louisville pulled even with the Panthers with two runs on three hits in the fourth. Stallings started the scoring with his lead off home run to left field on a 2-1 pitch from Baker. After an infield single, Haynes moved to second with his 10th stolen base of the season and then scored on an RBI single to center field by freshman Kyle Grieshaber (Chesterfield, Mo./Marquette HS) to tie the score at 3-3.
Once again, the Panthers responded to the Cardinals' offense as Brownsten led off the bottom of the fourth with a single through the left side, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Zach Duggan and then scored on an RBI single to left field by John Schultz to push Pitt back in front for good at 4-3.
Pittsburgh added to its lead in the sixth inning as Phillip Konieczny scored from second on an RBI single through the right side by Brownsten for a 5-3 lead. Then, in the seventh, the Panthers put the game away with three more runs on four hits. Konieczny started the scoring with an RBI single through the right side to score Chester for a 6-3 advantage. Moments later, Smith scored on an RBI single up the middle by Brownsten for the second run of the inning, while Konieczny closed the scoring by taking home from third base on a double steal for the final 8-3 margin.