April 28, 2010
Box Score |
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
Freshman Zak Wasserman capped a wild ninth inning with a walk-off RBI single to complete the 11th-ranked Louisville baseball team's 10-9 come-from-behind win over rival Kentucky in front of a regular season school record crowd of 4,039 at Jim Patterson Stadium on Wednesday night.
With the win, the Cardinals improved to 33-7 overall and evened the season series with the Wildcats, who dropped to 23-18 overall. The crowd, which surpassed the previous regular season record crowd of 3,707 set on April 2, 2010 in Louisville's win over Villanova, was also the fourth largest home crowd in school history.
The two teams combined for nine runs and nine hits against two of the top closers in the nation during Wednesday night's crazy ninth inning. After allowing five runs on four hits in the top of the ninth to trail 9-6, the Cardinals responded by scoring four runs on five hits, with the last being Wasserman's game-winner off Braden Kapteyn to score sophomore Ryan Wright and end the game.
The Louisville rally started with a one-out single up the middle by senior catcher Jeff Arnold (Louisville, Ky./Male HS), who moved to second when senior shortstop Adam Duvall (Louisville, Ky./Butler HS) was hit by a two-strike pitch from UK closer Matt Little. Moments later, Arnold scored on an RBI double to left center by senior first baseman Andrew Clark (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine HS) to cut the deficit to 9-7. Wright (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead HS) followed with a two-run single to right center to even the game at 9-9.
After junior third baseman Phil Wunderlich (Chicago, Ill./Downers Grove HS) reached base with a single to left field, redshirt sophomore Stewart Ijames (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) walked on four pitches to load the bases for Wasserman. The Stevensville, Mich., native and Lakeshore High School graduate sent a 1-0 pitch from Kapteyn, who replaced Little earlier in the inning with a 2-0 count to Ijames, over the head of shortstop Taylor Black and into center field to set off the Cardinals' celebration.
Overall, Wasserman finished 2-for-3 at the plate, while Wunderlich was 4-for-4 with his team-leading 14th home run and two runs scored. Wright finished the game 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored, Clark was 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs and Arnold finished 3-for-5 with one run scored.
The dramatic bottom of the ninth inning was setup after the Wildcats erupted for five runs, including four earned, on four hits off Louisville junior closer Neil Holland (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS). With Louisville holding a 6-4 lead, the Wildcats started their one-out rally with three straight singles by Chris Bisson, Chad Wright and Andy Burns. After Burns' RBI single scored Bisson, Lance Ray followed with an RBI double down the right field line to score Wright and tie the game at 6-6.
After an intentional walk to Keenan Wiley loaded the bases, Navarro Hall gave the Wildcats a 7-6 lead on an RBI walk from Holland. The final two runs of the inning for UK scored as Duvall's throw at second base on an attempted double-play turn sailed over Clark at first base and into the Cardinals dugout allowing Ray and Wiley to score. That set the stage for the Cardinals' dramatic rally in the bottom of the inning.
Despite just his second blown save of the season, Holland earned the win to improve to 7-0 on the season, while Little took the loss to fall to 2-2. Holland entered the game ranked fourth in the nation in saves with 10, while Little has been strong as the Wildcats' closer with six saves.
Kentucky opened the scoring in the first inning as Gunner Glad reached base with a two-out double to right field, moved to third following a passed ball on the swinging third strike by Ray and then scored as catcher Jeff Arnold's throw to first on the strikeout sailed over the head of Clark. The error by Arnold, which led to the unearned run, was his first of the season and just the third of his career.
The Wildcats added to their lead an inning later with another unearned run as Michael Williams reached base on a one-out fielding error in right field by Ijames, moved to second on a single by Cory Farris and then scored on an RBI single down the right field line by Luke Maile for a 2-0 advantage.
Louisville broke through in the scoring column in the fourth inning with two runs on four hits off UK reliever Mike Kaczmarek. After starting the inning with three straight singles by Clark, Wright and Wunderlich, Clark scored the first run on a groundout by Ijames. Moments later, the Cardinals tied the game at 2-2 as Wright scored on an RBI double down the left field line by freshman Cade Stallings (Knoxville, Tenn./Farragut HS).
The Cards gained their first lead of the night with three runs on two hits in the sixth inning. After reaching base by being hit by a pitch from Sam Kidd, Wunderlich moved to second on a walk to Ijames, advanced to third on a single to right by Wasserman and then scored the first run of the inning on a passed ball by catcher Luke Maile on a pitch from reliever Nick Kennedy. Louisville pushed its lead to 5-2 moments later as Ijames and Wasserman scored on a two-run single off the glove of Kennedy and into left field by junior outfielder Drew Haynes (New Albany, Ind./New Albany HS).
Kentucky trimmed the Louisville advantage to 5-4 in the seventh inning as Bisson hammered his third home run of the season, a two-run shot to right field off Cardinals' righty Justin Amlung (Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier HS) to score pinch runner Neiko Johnson.
Wunderlich added to the Cardinals lead in the bottom of the eighth with his home run, a solo shot to right field on the first pitch of the inning from Kennedy. That gave the Cardinals a 6-4 lead entering the ninth inning.
Up next, Louisville will host BIG EAST foe Rutgers for a three-game series at Jim Patterson Stadium. Friday's series opener is set for 6 p.m. ET, while Saturday's game is set for 11 a.m. First pitch for Sunday's finale is set for 1 p.m.
Limited reserved parking is available to fans for the weekend series in the newly finished lot located beyond the left field seating area at the ballpark. For information on the reserved parking lot, contact Katie Kiper at 502-852-0721 by Thursday at 5 p.m. ET.
During game two of the series on Saturday, which will precede Kentucky Derby 136 at nearby Churchill Downs, the Louisville Athletics Department will give a free night's stay at the Galt House for the best Derby Hat, so fans are encouraged to wear their best Derby Hats to the game.
- Along with setting a new regular season attendance record, Wednesday's game ranked fourth in school history at Louisville, trailing only the 4,605 fans at the Cardinals' 8-2 win over Indiana in the 2009 NCAA Regional, the 4,211 fans that witnessed Louisville's NCAA Super Regional clinching win over Oklahoma State in 2007 and the 4,138 fans at game two of the 2007 NCAA Super Regional against the Cowboys.
- With Wednesday's crowd, the Cardinals are now averaging 1,724 fans in 24 home games this season. Louisville also improved to 21-3 at Jim Patterson Stadium this season and is 129-46 all-time at the ballpark, which officially opened in April 2005.
- The Cardinals' quartet of first baseman Andrew Clark, second baseman Ryan Wright, shortstop Adam Duvall and third baseman Phil Wunderlich went 10-for-18 with seven runs scored and four RBI and continued to lay its claim as one of the best infields in the nation. Clark (8 HR, 35 RBI) leads the team in hitting at .375, Wunderlich (.371 avg., 41 RBI) leads the team with 14 home runs, Wright (.370 avg., 11 HR) leads the team in RBI with 49 and Duvall (.373 avg., 10 HR, 30 RBI) leads the team with 19 doubles.
- After trailing 9-6 entering the bottom of the ninth, Louisville rallied for its 19th come-from-behind win of the season. Wednesday's win is also the Cardinals' fourth walk-off win and the 12th time they have won in their final at-bat.