April 11, 2010
PITTSBURGH, Pa. -
A pair of ninth inning two-run home runs by senior Adam Duvall and sophomore Ryan Wright powered the No. 6 Louisville baseball team to a 9-7 come-from-behind win over host Pittsburgh in Sunday's series finale at Trees Field.
With the win, the Cardinals improved to 25-6 overall and 6-3 in BIG EAST Conference games, while the Panthers dropped to 22-8 and 6-3 in league games. Louisville, which trailed by a 6-1 margin earlier in the game, also halted a three-game losing streak, the longest losing skid of the season and the longest since Feb. 20-22, 2009 for the Cardinals.
Trailing 7-5 entering the ninth inning, Louisville started its rally as junior catcher J.J. Ethel (Phoenix, Ariz./Mountain Pointe HS) reached base with a leadoff single to right field off Pittsburgh reliever Ray Black. Head coach Dan McDonnell then turned to Duvall (Louisville, Ky./Butler HS), who sent a 1-2 pitch from Black over the wall in left center for his ninth home run of the season to tie the score at 7-7. Duvall was out the Cardinals' starting lineup in all three games at Pitt while recovering from a tweaked hamstring suffered in Tuesday's loss at Kentucky.
After pulling even, Louisville continued its ninth inning rally as senior catcher Jeff Arnold (Louisville, Ky./Male HS) battled from behind in the count to earn a one-out walk to set the stage for Wright (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead HS), who hammered the first pitch he saw from Black over the wall in center field for his ninth home run of the season and the 9-7 lead.
Working his fifth inning of relief in the game, junior righty Neil Holland (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) recorded the final three outs of the game to earn the win and improve to 5-0 overall. Holland allowed three runs on seven hits with five strikeouts in his 5.0 innings of relief for junior righty Gabriel Shaw (Paducah, Ky./St. Mary's HS), who gave up four runs on eight hits in 4.0 innings in his first start of the season and the third of his career.
At the plate, Wright was 2-for-4 overall with three RBI, while Ethel was 2-for-4 with the run scored. Redshirt sophomore outfielder Stewart Ijames
(Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) also added a key two-run single during the Cardinals' furious rally over the final four innings.
For the Panthers, Black took the loss after allowing five runs on five hits in 2.0 innings of relief to fall to 0-1 on the season. Senior righty Nathan Hood earned the start and allowed four runs on six hits in 7.0 innings before giving way to Black. At the plate, Pitt was led by catcher Cory Brownsten, who finished 3-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored in the loss.
Pittsburgh opened the scoring in Sunday's series finale with a run in the second inning on an RBI single to center by Brownsten and added a run in the third inning on an RBI single by Kevan Smith for a 2-0 advantage against Shaw. The Cardinals pulled to within 2-1 in the top of the fourth as Arnold, who led off the inning with a walk and moved to second with a stolen base, scored on an RBI single up the middle by Wright.
The Panthers came back in the bottom of the fourth with a pair of runs on an RBI triple by Danny Lopez and an RBI single by John Schultz for a 4-1 lead. An inning later, Pitt pushed its advantage to 6-1 in the fifth on a two-run double down the left field line by Brownsten off of Holland.
The Cardinals cut into the lead in the sixth inning thanks to three runs on three hits against Hood. Freshman Kyle Grieshaber (Chesterfield, Mo./Marquette HS) started the scoring by reaching base with a leadoff single, moving to third on a double by Arnold and then scoring on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to 6-2. Moments later, Ijames' two-run single to right scored Arnold and junior Phil Wunderlich (Chicago, Ill./Downers Grove HS) to cut the Pitt lead to 6-4.
After the Panthers added a run in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI double by David Chester, Louisville cut the deficit to 7-5 in the eighth inning on an RBI groundout by freshman Cade Stallings (Knoxville, Tenn./Farragut HS) to score senior first baseman Andrew Clark (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine HS), who reached base earlier in the inning with a double. After Holland held Pitt scoreless in the eighth, the Cardinals finished their 15th comeback win of the season with the four-run ninth inning.
Up next, Louisville continues its eight-game road swing at No. 21 Western Kentucky on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET in Bowling Green, Ky.
- With the win in Sunday's series finale, the Cardinals avoided their first loss in a series sweep since losing three straight at Florida on Feb. 20-22, 2009.
- The three-game losing skid for the Cardinals this week matches the longest losing streak in head coach Dan McDonnell's three seasons in Louisville. U of L has not lost four straight games since the 2006 season.
- With his 2-for-4 day at the plate on Sunday, sophomore Ryan Wright is the Cardinals' leading hitter at .368 overall. He also leads the team in RBI with 36 and is tied for second on the team with nine home runs.
- With Sunday's win, Louisville regains the lead in the all-time series with Pittsburgh at 7-6.
- Additional Note from Saturday's Game: Redshirt freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung was ejected with one out in the eighth inning of Saturday's after home plate umpire John Bennett determined he intentionally hit Pittsburgh catcher Kevan Smith with a 2-2 pitch. By rule, Amlung must serve a four-game suspension, which started with Sunday's series finale.