Louisville junior 3B Phil Wunderlich
April 24, 2010
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Freshman righty Matt Koch earned his first career win with three scoreless innings of relief, while Phil Wunderlich and Stewart Ijames each homered to lift the No. 11 Louisville baseball team to its eighth straight win overall, a 3-1 victory over Seton Hall on Saturday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium.
With the series clinching win, the Cardinals improved to 32-6 overall and 11-3 in BIG EAST Conference games, while the Pirates dropped to 13-22-1 overall and 3-11 in league games. The two teams will conclude the weekend series on Sunday at noon ET at Jim Patterson Stadium and admission is free.
Koch (Cherokee, Iowa/Cherokee Washington HS) allowed only two hits with two strikeouts in his 3.0 scoreless innings out of the bullpen to improve to 1-0 on the season. Junior righty Neil Holland (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) recorded the final five outs of the game without allowing a hit to earn his BIG EAST leading 10th save of the season.
At the plate, Wunderlich (Chicago, Ill./Downers Grove HS) and Ijames (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) were the difference with their back-to-back solo home runs with two outs in the fourth inning. With the game tied at 1-1, Wunderlich hammered a 2-0 pitch from Seton Hall starter Frank Morris over the right field wall for his team-leading 13th home run of the season. After Wunderlich pushed the Cardinals in front for good, Ijames followed by hammering the first pitch he saw from Morris over the wall in right center for his sixth home run of the season. It was the fifth time this season the Cardinals have hit back-to-back home runs in a game.
Louisville opened the scoring in the first inning as senior shortstop Adam Duvall (Louisville, Ky./Butler HS), who finished 2-for-3 at the plate, reached base with a one-out walk from Morris, moved to third on a single to center by senior first baseman Andrew Clark (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine HS) and then scored on an RBI sacrifice fly to right field by sophomore Ryan Wright (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead HS) for a 1-0 advantage.
After two scoreless innings, the Pirates tied the score at 1-1 in the fourth as A.J. Rusbarsky reached base with a leadoff walk, moved to second on a balk by Louisville lefty starter Dean Kiekhefer (Louisville, Ky./Oldham County HS), advanced to third on a groundout by Giuseppe Papaccio and scored on an RBI single to right by Reid Pulford. Kiekhefer allowed one run on four hits in 4.1 innings before giving way to Koch.
The Cardinals regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth on the home runs by Wunderlich and Ijames and from there, the Louisville bullpen allowed only two hits by the Pirates over the final 4.2 innings to hold on for the win. Morris took the loss for Seton Hall after allowing three runs on five hits with four strikeouts in 8.0 innings.
- With their eighth straight win overall, the Cardinals continued their second longest winning streak of the season behind only the 13 straight victories to open 2010.
- With Friday's win, Louisville improved to 20-2 at Jim Patterson Stadium this season and 128-45 all-time in the facility, which officially opened on April 15, 2005.
- Along with his 10 saves this season, junior righty Neil Holland is 6-0 overall with an ERA of just 1.40 with 41 strikeouts in 38.2 innings of work. Opposing batters are hitting just .137 against the Owensboro, Ky., native.
- First pitch for Saturday's game was originally scheduled for 4 p.m. ET, but was moved to noon due to impending rain. That decision proved to be a very good move as heavy rains and lightning arrived at Jim Patterson Stadium less than 2 minutes after the final out of the game, which was played in 2 hours, 22 minutes.