April 14, 2012
Box Score |
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Sophomore outfielder Jeff Gardner went 4-for-4 with a home run and three RBI to lead the 19th-ranked Louisville baseball team to a 12-7 win over visiting Seton Hall on Saturday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium.
With the win, the Cardinals improved to 25-10 overall and 8-3 in BIG EAST Conference action while evening the weekend series with the Pirates, who dropped to 18-16 overall and 6-5 in league games. The deciding third game is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m., ET and admission is free.
Along with his second home run of the season, Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy) added two doubles and scored three times as the Cardinals used a pair of five-run innings to clinch Saturday's victory. The four hits and three runs matched career-highs for Gardner, who halted a stretch of 12 games without an extra-base hit in impressive fashion with three on Saturday.
Sophomore Ty Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) added a double, a walk, three RBI and two runs scored for the Cardinals, while sophomore outfielder Adam Engel (Loveland, Ohio/Loveland HS) had two stolen bases to go with a single, a walk, an RBI and a run scored. Engel leads the Cardinals in stolen bases with 27 in 28 attempts this season.
On the mound, sophomore right-hander Jeff Thompson (Greenville, Ind./Floyd Central HS) overcame a slow start to win his second straight start and improve to 7-1 on the season. The Cardinals' leader in wins, Thompson allowed two earned runs and four total runs on six hits with seven strikeouts in 6.0 innings on Saturday. After allowing four runs in the first two innings, he settled down by giving up just two hits over his final four innings for his fifth quality start of the season.
The Pirates became just the fifth team this season score in the first inning against the Cardinals plating two runs for the early lead. Shortstop Giuseppe Papaccio started the scoring with an RBI single to score outfielder Zack Granite, while first baseman Sal Annunziata added an RBI single to score outfielder Will Walsh for the 2-0 lead.
However, the lead was short-lived as the Cardinals answered with five runs in the bottom of the first against SHU starter Ryan Harvey, who recorded only one out before ending his day without completing an inning. Engel started the Louisville rally by reaching base with a leadoff walk and quickly advanced to third with a pair of stolen bases. After junior second baseman Nick Ratajczak
(Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC) walked, Gardner followed with a stinging two-run double off the wall in left center to score both Engel and Ratajczak to even the score at 2-2.
Later in the inning, the Cardinals used another extra-base hit to gain the lead as Young belted a 1-0 pitch from Harvey into right center for a two-run double to score Gardner and senior first baseman Stewart Ijames (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) for the 4-2 advantage. After Harvey was replaced on the mound by reliever Henry Warner, sophomore outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) connected for a two-out RBI single to right to score Young for the fifth run of the inning. Harvey took the loss for Seton Hall to fall to 2-3 on the season.
After Seton Hall was able cut its deficit to only one on an RBI single by Granite and an RBI groundout by Mike Genovese in the top of the second, Louisville answered in the bottom of the inning to push the lead to 6-4 when Gardner crushed an 0-2 pitch from Warner over the right field wall. An inning later, the Cardinals increased their advantage to 7-4 when freshman infielder Zach Lucas (Louisville, Ky./Butler HS), who led off the inning with a walk, scored from third on an RBI single by Engel.
The scored remained that way until the sixth when the Cardinals exploded for five runs on three hits and a pair of SHU walks. The inning started with Ratajczak being hit by a pitch from reliever Jose Lopez, while Gardner and Ijames followed with singles to load the bases. Lopez was then replaced by George Fernandez, who walked in back-to-back runs with RBI passes to Lucas and Young. Sophomore Alex Chittenden (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central HS) followed with an RBI infield single to score Ijames and end the day for Fernandez.
After Connor Delepine entered from the bullpen, Sturgeon plated the fourth run of the inning on an RBI fielder's choice to score Lucas, while catcher Shane Crain (Lexington, Ky./Wabash Valley CC) closed the scoring with an RBI sacrifice fly to center to score Young for the 12-4 lead.
The Pirates cut into the Cardinals' lead with three runs in the seventh against lefty reliever Cody Ege (Cherokee, Iowa/Washington HS), but sophomore righty Chad Green (Effingham, Ill./Effingham HS) and freshman righty Nick Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South HS) combined to record the final nine outs of the game and close out the five-run victory.
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