April 18, 2009
PISCATAWAY, N.J. -
Sophomore righty Thomas Royse matched a career high with 10 strikeouts to earn his third straight win while the Louisville Cardinals turned their second triple play in 18 days to end Saturday's series-clinching 7-4 win over Rutgers at Bainton Field.
With Louisville (26-10, 10-4 BIG EAST) leading 7-4 in the ninth inning, Rutgers' first two hitters reached base with singles off Cards' freshman closer Tony Zych to set the stage for the game-ending triple play. Second baseman Dan Perrine followed with a line drive to Cards' first baseman Andrew Clark, who stepped on first base for the second out and then threw to senior shortstop John Dao at the second base bag for the third and final out. Louisville turned its first triple play of the season and the first ever at Jim Patterson Stadium on April 1 in the fifth inning of its 5-4 win over Ball State.
Royse, from Lexington, Ky., allowed only one run on four hits in his 5.0 innings to improve to 3-2 on the season. His 10 strikeouts matched his career best total set in the Cards' 12-7 win at Cincinnati on April 4. On Monday, Royse was named BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week after his one-hit, complete game performance in last Saturday's 1-0 win over Pittsburgh.
Junior third baseman Chris Dominguez led the way for the Cardinal hitters with a 2-for-4 day with two RBI and one run scored, while freshman Ryan Wright continued his hot hitting with a hit and two RBI in the win. Clark chipped in with one hit, one RBI and two runs scored.
With the win, the Cardinals clinched their third straight BIG EAST series and their fourth conference series overall. Louisville has also won five straight BIG EAST games and seven of its last eight overall. The Cards will look for their second straight series sweep in Sunday's finale with Rutgers (15-21, 3-11), which is set to begin at noon ET.
For the second straight game against the Scarlet Knights, the Cardinals scored first and never trailed. Louisville opened the scoring in the second inning as Dominguez led off with a double to left center, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Wright and then scored on an RBI groundout by junior catcher Jeff Arnold
for a 1-0 advantage.
The Cards built on their lead with a four-run third inning that featured three singles, two walks and one hit-by-pitch from Rutgers' starter Casey Gaynor. Sophomore outfielder Drew Haynes led off with an HBP and then moved to third on a single to center by sophomore outfielder Josh Richmond. After a walk to junior second baseman Adam Duvall loaded the bases for the Cards, Haynes scored on an RBI walk by Clark for a 2-0 lead.
Dominguez followed with a two-run single to center to score Richmond and Duvall for a 4-0 advantage. After Clark moved to third on a deep fly ball to right by sophomore Phil Wunderlich, he scored on an RBI single up the middle by Wright for a 5-0 lead. Rutgers came back for one run in the bottom of the third as centerfielder Luis Feliz singled to center, moved to third on a double down the left field line by second baseman Brandon Boykin and then scored on an RBI groundout by rightfielder Michael Lang to make it 5-1
After a scoreless fourth inning, Louisville added two more runs in the fifth with a pair of hits. Duvall led off the inning with a swinging strike out, but reached base as the ball bounced away from catcher Jayson Hernandez. After Duvall moved to third on a double down the left field line by Clark, he scored on an RBI single through the right side by Wunderlich for a 6-1 lead. Clark made it 7-1 moments later as he scored on an RBI fielder's choice by Wright.
Rutgers started chipping away at the Louisville lead in the sixth inning as shortstop Dan Betteridge led off the inning with his second home run of the season after senior lefty Gavin Logsdon had just replaced Royse as the Cards' pitcher. After a scoreless seventh inning, the Scarlet Knights added two more runs in the eighth to make it 7-4 Louisville as catcher Jayson Hernandez doubled down the left field line off Cards' sophomore reliever Gabriel Shaw to score Lang and Steven Zavala, both of whom had reached base with hits off Logsdon earlier in the inning.
After a 1-2-3 ninth inning for the Louisville bats against Rutgers reliever Ryan Beard, the stage was set for the exciting finish for the Cards. The bottom of the ninth started with a Feliz single through the right side that bounced over Clark at first base. That was followed by a single to center field by third baseman D.J. Anderson to put base runners on first and second with no outs for Perrine, who sent the 0-2 pitch from Zych into the glove of Clark to start the game-ending triple play.
With the scoreless ninth inning, Zych picked up his second save of the season. Gaynor took the loss for the Scarlet Knights after allowing seven runs, including six earned, on seven hits with six strikeouts in 6.0 innings to fall to 1-6 on the season.
- With South Florida's 11-7 loss at Villanova, the Louisville Cardinals moved to within one game of first place in the BIG EAST standings. USF leads the way at 11-3, while the Cards are 10-4 in the league.
- With another hit on Saturday, freshman Ryan Wright is the Cards' leading hitter with a .350 average. The native of Fort Wayne, Ind., has hit safely in 29 of the Cards' 36 games this season and he is second on the team with 37 RBI.
- Since moving from the closer role and into the Cards' weekend starting rotation on March 21, sophomore righty Thomas Royse is 3-1 in his five starts with 34 strikeouts and a 2.61 ERA in 31.0 innings.