April 25, 2009
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
Louisville sophomore Phil Wunderlich continued his amazing week at the plate with a pair of home runs on Saturday, but it was not enough as the Louisville baseball team lost 11-5 to Notre Dame on a warm and breezy afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium.
With Saturday's result, the BIG EAST series between the Cardinals (29-12, 12-5) and Fighting Irish (24-16, 9-8) is even at 1-1, with Sunday's series finale set for 1 p.m. ET.
Wunderlich, from Chicago, hit two solo home runs on Saturday to take his team-leading season total to 12. In the Cardinals' four games this week, Wunderlich is 11-for-18 at the plate with four home runs, four doubles and 13 RBI. Along with home runs, he also leads the Cards in batting average at .364 and is second on the team with 47 RBI.
However, despite Wunderlich's good day, the Cardinals were not able to overcome the Fighting Irish bats on Saturday. Notre Dame moved out to early lead thanks to four runs on four hits in the first inning off Louisville sophomore starter Thomas Royse. Leftfielder Golden Tate started the scoring with an RBI triple to left to score centerfielder AJ Pollock, who led off the game with a single to center. Tate then scored on an RBI double down the left field line by designated hitter David Casey for a 2-0 lead. First baseman Evan Sharpley capped the scoring in the inning one hitter later with his second home run of the season, a two-run shot to left field for the 4-0 Irish lead.
Louisville came back for one run in the home half of the first as junior first baseman Andrew Clark hammered his sixth home run of the season, this one off the scoreboard in right field, to cut the Notre Dame lead to 4-1 after one inning of play.
The Cardinals pulled even in the fourth inning with three runs on five hits off Notre Dame starter Brian Dupra. Wunderlich started the scoring with his first home run of the day to make it 4-2. Freshman Ryan Wright followed with a single to right center and then moved to third on a single to right center by senior Alec Lowrey. Senior John Dao plated both baserunners with a two-run double to right center to tie the score at 4-4 after the fourth.
Notre Dame then regained the lead at 5-4 in the fifth inning on an RBI double to right center by shortstop Jeremy Barnes off Louisville reliever Dean Kiekhefer
to score Pollock from third. Kiekhefer entered the game in the third inning after Royse departed with soreness and stiffness in his lower back.
Following a scoreless sixth inning, the Fighting Irish added two more runs in the seventh inning for a 7-4 advantage. The scoring started when Jeremy Barnes reached base on an error by third baseman Chris Dominguez to score Pollock from third off Louisville's Derek Self. After Self was replaced by senior lefty Gavin Logsdon, Barnes scored on an RBI single up the middle by third baseman Mick Doyle. Notre Dame added two more runs in the eighth as Pollock hammered his sixth home run of the season, a two-run shot to left off Louisville reliever Neil Holland to make it 9-4 Irish.
The Cards cut the lead to 9-5 in the bottom of the eighth with Wunderlich's second home run of the day, while ND closed the scoring in the ninth inning with two more runs on a solo home run by Mick Doyle and an RBI triple by Brayden Ashdown for the final 11-5 margin.
Kiekhefer was saddled with the loss for the Cardinals despite allowing only one earned run on four hits in his 4.0 innings of relief, while Dupra earned the win for the Irish after giving up five runs on 12 hits in his 7.1 innings of work. Will Hudgins picked up his first save of the season after not allowing a hit or a run in his 1.2 innings of relief after entering the game in the eighth inning with the tying run in the on-deck circle.
Along with Wunderlich, the Cardinals also got two hits each from sophomore outfielder Josh Richmond, Clark, Dominguez, Wright and senior Alec Lowrey, Friday night's hero for the Cardinals.