Louisville senior 1B Andrew Clark
May 1, 2010
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Senior first baseman Andrew Clark hit a pair of first inning home runs and finished with a career best eight RBI to lead the 11th-ranked Louisville baseball team to a 24-6 win over Rutgers on a windy and rainy Saturday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium.
With Saturday's win, which completed their fifth weekend series sweep of the season, the Cardinals improved to 36-7 overall and 14-4 in BIG EAST Conference games, while the Scarlet Knights dropped to 21-20 overall and 10-8 in the conference.
Clark (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine HS) finished 4-for-4 at the plate, including his two home runs in Louisville's decisive 10-run first inning. With the Cardinals trailing 3-0, Clark sent a 1-0 pitch from Rutgers starter Dan O'Neill over the wall in center field to score senior catcher Jeff Arnold (Louisville, Ky./Male HS) and senior shortstop Adam Duvall (Louisville, Ky./Butler HS) to even the score. Later in the inning, with the Cardinals leading 6-3 and the bases loaded, Clark sent a 2-2 pitch from reliever Willie Beard over the left field wall for his 11th home run of the season to increase the advantage to 10-3.
It was the second two-homer game of the season and the third of the career for Clark, and it was the seventh time this season the Cardinals have had a player hit two home runs in a game. The 24 runs for the Cardinals were the most for them since a 24-5 win over Wright State on March 5, 1999, while the 19 hits on Saturday were a season high.
Along with Clark, six other Louisville players finished with at least two hits. Redshirt sophomore outfielder Stewart Ijames (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) finished 3-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored, including his ninth home run of the season, while Arnold was 3-for-3 with four RBI and three runs scored. Junior third baseman Phil Wunderlich (Chicago, Ill./Downers Grove HS) completed a great week going 2-for-5 with three runs scored, two RBI and a home run, his team-leading 17th of the season and his fourth of the week. Junior J.J. Ethel (Phoenix, Ariz./Mountain Pointe HS) and freshman Jarred Clarkson (Shelbyville, Ky./Shelby County HS) added two hits and two RBI each in the win.
On the mound, senior righty Tyler Mathis (Covington, Tenn./Covington HS) earned his first win of the season after allowing one run on two hits in 2.1 innings of relief, while sophomore righty Derek Self (Cave City, Ky./Caverna HS) allowed three runs on seven hits in 4.0 innings in the start. O'Neill took the loss for the Scarlet Knights after allowing five runs on two hits with two walks in less than an inning.
Rutgers opened the scoring early in Saturday's game with three runs on four hits in the first inning. Steve Nyistor started the scoring with an RBI double down the left field to score Michael Lang for a 1-0 advantage. After his RBI double scored Nyistor, Jaren Matthews scored on an RBI single by Jayson Hernandez for the 3-0 lead.
From there, the Cardinals scored 24 straight runs during their first five innings to cruise home for the win. Along with the 10-run first inning, the most runs in an inning for the Cardinals since a 10-run third inning against Marshall on April 5, 2007, Louisville also scored three runs in the second, two runs in the third, one in the fourth and eight runs in the fifth to hold a 24-3 lead at that point. With those first and fifth inning performances on Saturday, the Cardinals have scored at least five runs in an inning 11 times this season.
Up next, Louisville will begin a six-game road swing with a pair of mid-week games at Ohio State. The Cardinals and Buckeyes will open their two-game set in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET in a game that will be televised by the Big Ten Network, while Wednesday's game is set for 2:05 p.m.
- With the series sweep, Louisville extended its winning streak over Rutgers to six straight and its lead in the all-time series to 15-4.
- Louisville improved to 24-3 at Jim Patterson Stadium this season with Saturday's win and is now 132-46 all-time at the ballpark since it opened in 2005.
- With his 4-for-4 day at the plate, senior Andrew Clark is now hitting .406 overall with 11 home runs and 46 RBI. During the Cardinals' 4-0 performance this week, Clark hit .600 (9-for-15) with three home runs and 12 RBI.
- Saturday's win was the largest margin of victory (18 runs) for Louisville since a 20-2 win over Oklahoma State on June 10, 2007 in the decisive third game of the NCAA Super Regional.
- With Louisville's 10 runs and Rutgers' three runs, the first inning of Saturday's game lasted 45 minutes.
- Junior Phil Wunderlich had a strong week at the plate hitting .533 (8-for-15) with four home runs and six RBI in the Cardinals' mid-week win over Kentucky and three-game sweep of Rutgers. Overall, Wunderlich is hitting .371 with 17 home runs and 46 RBI.