April 11, 2007
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - University of Louisville junior catcher Derrick Alfonso was 4 for 4 with a home run and four Cardinal pitchers combined on a six-hitter as the Cards upended the 19th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats 8-1 Wednesday night at Jim Patterson Stadium
An overflow crowd of 2,643 had to survive a 43-minute delay to the start of the game due to rain and hail before the Cards (22-10) could unleash their 17-hit attack.
"The kids really responded to our challenge tonight and I'm proud of them," said Head Coach Dan McDonnell.
"Alfonso really set the tone. For him to get his foot down and get a great cut on, that sent the message that now we are ready to hit - and we did after that."
After UK starter Duran Ferguson had retired the first seven Cardinal batters in order, striking out four, Alfonso hammered a first pitch fastball with one out in the third over the berm down the left field line to break the scoreless tie with his fourth home run of the season.
Louisville put up a pair of runs in the third to extend the lead to 3-0. Jorge Castillo singled to open the frame and Chris Dominguez doubled him to third. An RBI single by Isaiah Howes plated Castillo after Dominguez was picked off at second. Howes was then caught stealing second before Pete Rodriguez reached on a two-base throwing error by UK's Matt McKinney. Alfonso's base hit to left scored Rodriguez.
Logan Johnson walked to open the Cardinal fourth, Daniel Burton reached on a bunt single and Castillo loaded the bases on an infield hit. Dominguez then crushed his second double of the game and eighth of the season to the gap in right, plating two. Howes then singled home Castillo to up the lead to 6-0.
Kentucky (25-7-1) DH Sean Coughlin doubled to lead off the sixth and eventually scored on a sac fly by Brian Spear for the only Cat run of the game.
Boomer Whiting, who leads the nation in steals per game, singled to open the Cardinal sixth, stole second and scored on a single by Burton. It was Whiting's 40th steal of the season, already a school record, and 79th of his career, tying him with Mike Hook for second in Cardinal history. Johnson smacked his 14th double of the season in the U of L eighth and scored on an RBI single by Burton for the final margin.
Cardinal starter James Belanger shackled the nation's second-highest scoring team through 4.2 scoreless innings, scattering four hits and three walks while striking out a career-best five.
Skylar Meade (5-1) picked up the win, allowing the run on a hit while fanning two in 2.1 IP. Kyle Hollander struck out one in a perfect eighth and Trystan Magnuson closed things out in the ninth, allowing a hit but striking out a pair of Wildcats.
Ferguson (1-1) took the loss, allowing a run on three hits while striking out four in three innings. Eight Wildcat pitchers followed Ferguson to the hill.
Paced by Alfonso's second four-hit game of his career, seven Cardinals had multi-hit efforts.
The Wildcats were 20-0 in non-conference games before falling to the Cardinals.
Louisville will now embark upon an eight-game road stretch - the longest of the season, beginning in Storrs, Connecticut with a three-game BIG EAST series against the UConn Huskies. The opening game of the series is set for Friday at 3:00 p.m.
The Cards do not return home to Patterson until April 27, a 6:00 p.m. game against USF.