May 9, 2009
QUEENS, N.Y. -
The Louisville bullpen pitched 3.2 innings of hitless and scoreless relief to hold a one-run lead and push the Cardinals to a 5-4 series-clinching win over St. John's on Saturday afternoon at Jack Kaiser Stadium.
The Louisville win, along with USF's 7-6 loss at Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon, moved the Cardinals (36-13, 16-6 BIG EAST) to within 1/2 game of the first-place Bulls and 2 1/2 games clear of St. John's (27-18, 14-9) with four BIG EAST games left. The Cardinals, who won Friday night's series opener at St. John's 10-8, extended their winning streak to a season-long seven games and Louisville has won nine straight road games overall.
Sophomore lefty Dean Kiekhefer earned his second straight weekend start for the Cardinals and the Louisville native delivered his second straight win after allowing four runs on nine hits with two strikeouts in 5.1 innings to improve to 5-4 this season.
Freshman Derek Self was the first of three pitchers in the Louisville bullpen to work on Saturday giving the Cards 1.1 innings of scoreless relief, and he was followed by 1.1 innings of scoreless work from senior lefty Gavin Logsdon. Sophomore righty Gabriel Shaw pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn his second save of the weekend and his second of the season.
At the plate, senior shortstop John Dao led the way going 3-for-4 with a run scored, while junior third baseman Chris Dominguez was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Junior second baseman Adam Duvall added a home run and two RBI in the win, while the Cards also got one RBI each from senior designated hitter Alec Lowrey, sophomore outfielder Drew Haynes and freshman outfielder Ryan Wright.
After opening Friday night's win with three runs in the second inning, Louisville opened the scoring on Saturday with three runs on three hits in the third inning. Dao led off the inning with a triple to right center and then scored on an RBI single up the middle by Haynes for a 1-0 advantage. Duvall then followed with his ninth home run of the season, this one over the wall in left field, to score Haynes and give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead.
Louisville added another run in the fourth as Wright was hit by a pitch from St. John's starter Bruce Kern to lead off the inning and then scored on an RBI double to left center by Lowrey. The Cardinals then made it 5-0 in the top of the fifth as Dominguez singled through the left side, moved to third on a single by sophomore outfielder Phil Wunderlich and then scored what turned out to be the game-winning run on an RBI sacrifice fly to deep right field by Wright.
St. John's bounced back with two runs in the home half of the fifth as shortstop Gino Matias led off with a single that bounced off the knee of Kiekhefer and into right field and then scored on an RBI double to right center by leftfielder Brian Kemp. After moving to third on a groundout to the right side by centerfielder Jimmy Parque, Kemp scored on an RBI groundout to the right side by first baseman Tim Morris to cut the Cards' lead to 5-2.
The Red Storm added two more runs in the sixth as second baseman Matt Wessinger singled to the left side, moved to third on a single to left field by rightfielder Carlos Del Rosario and then scored on an RBI double down the left field line by catcher Joe Witkowski. After Kiekhefer was replaced on the mound by Self, Del Rosario scored from third on a squeeze bunt by Matias. On the play, Self fielded the bunt and threw to first for the second out of the inning, while Witkowski, who was on second to start the at-bat, was thrown out at home by junior first baseman Clark to end the inning and cut down the tying run at home plate.
The play at the plate in the sixth proved to be costly for the Red Storm as they were unable to get a baserunner past second base against the Cards' bullpen over the final three innings. Kern allowed five runs on nine hits in 4.2 innings to earn the loss for St. John's and fall to 4-3 on the season.
The Cardinals and Red Storm will conclude their BIG EAST series on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET.
- With his 2-for-4 day at the plate, junior third baseman Chris Dominguez extended his hitting streak to 14 games, the second longest of the season for the All-American from Miami. Dominguez leads the Cards in hitting at .374, home runs with 17, RBI with 67 and stolen bases with 17-for-21.
- With his single in the fifth inning, sophomore outfielder Phil Wunderlich pushed his hitting streak to 12 games, which matches a season best for the Chicago native.
- The Cards' nine-game winning streak on the road is the longest in Dan McDonnell's three seasons as Louisville's head coach. U of L's last road loss came on April 5, when the Cards dropped the series finale at Cincinnati 10-9.