April 27, 2012
Box Score |
Recap by Adam Pruiett, UofLsports.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - After the first time the Louisville baseball team thumped archrival and top-ranked Kentucky, the Cardinals fizzled in a series opener against visiting Seton Hall. Their encore after their most recent lashing of the Wildcats was much more applause-worthy.
Facing defending BIG EAST Conference champion Connecticut, the No. 20 Cardinals got off to an exceptional start in their three-game set against the Huskies behind a commanding outing from ace Justin Amlung in a 5-0 victory Friday at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Amlung (Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier HS) tossed seven scoreless innings for the Cardinals (30-12), who moved to 11-5 in BIG EAST play. Connecticut (23-19) dropped to 11-5 in conference action. The Huskies entered the game tied with USF and St. John's atop the league standings. Louisville took two of three from USF in the previous weekend series.
Louisville collected its third shutout of the season and first since blanking Kentucky 12-0 on April 10. Amlung (7-3), who was coming off a no-decision and a loss in his previous two starts, only allowed four hits and one walk while striking out six. The junior right-hander didn't allow a single Connecticut baserunner past second base and came out unscathed in three separate innings where the Huskies had two on base. Junior right-hander Matt Koch (Cherokee, Iowa/Cherokee Washington HS) finished off Connecticut with two scoreless innings.
With Amlung stifling the Huskies, the Cardinals built a 3-0 lead after three innings and tacked on a run apiece in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively. Sophomore centerfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS), sophomore leftfielder Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy) and sophomore catcher Kyle Gibson (Henderson, Ky./Henderson County HS) all had two hits apiece for Louisville, which tallied nine overall.
Junior designated hitter Zak Wasserman (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore HS) got Louisville on the board in the second inning when he punched a two-out RBI single up the middle to plate sophomore third baseman Ty Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Preparatory School), who led off the inning with a walk against Connecticut starter David Fischer. The Huskies' right-hander dropped to 3-5 this season after allowing four runs on eight hits in six innings.
Two more of those runs came across in the third. Junior rightfielder Matt Helms (Eufaula, Okla./Seminole State CC) stayed hot with a sharp single through the legs of Fischer and into center field. Helms came all the way around to score when Sturgeon singled to right center and Connecticut outfielder Stanley Paul booted the ball. Sturgeon then scored on a wild pitch when Huskies catcher Connor David couldn't handle a third strike from Fischer with two outs and Young reached first safely.
Gardner padded Louisville's lead in the seventh when he poked a double down the left field line. Junior second baseman Nick Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC) scored on the play after reaching via getting hit for the 19th time this season. Ratajczak got plunked for the 20th time the next inning, when freshman outfielder Mike White (East Orange, N.J./Salisbury HS) picked up an RBI ground out for the team's final run.
Louisville and Connecticut will meet at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Jim Patterson Stadium in the second game of the series.
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