May 16, 2010
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
Redshirt sophomore outfielder Stewart Ijames hammered a pair of home runs and finished with a career best six RBI to lead the eighth-ranked Louisville baseball team to an 8-4 series clinching win over St. John's on Sunday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium.
With the win, Louisville improved to 42-10 overall and 18-6 in BIG EAST Conference games, while St. John's dropped to 34-16 and 15-9. The victory also clinched the Cardinals' 11th series win of the season and kept Louisville within a 1/2 game of first-place Connecticut in the BIG EAST standings with one week left in the regular season.
Ijames (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) finished 3-for-4 overall, including his first ever two-homer game, to go with the career best six RBI. He started his day with a solo home run to leadoff the second inning and open the scoring in Sunday's game, added a two-run double in the third inning and finished with a three-run homer, his 12th of the season, in the seventh inning to put the game away.
On the mound, redshirt freshman Justin Amlung (Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier HS) allowed three runs on four hits in 5.2 innings to earn the win and improve to 4-1 on the season. After entering the game with Louisville holding a one-run lead in the seventh, junior righty Neil Holland (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS) allowed only one run on three hits in 2.2 innings of relief to earn his team-leading 13th save and set a new single season school record for saves, breaking Carlos Fernandez's previous mark of 12 set in 2003.
For the Red Storm, starter Matt Carasiti took the loss after allowing four runs on five hits in 2.2 innings to fall to 6-3 overall. At the plate, second baseman Matt Wessinger led the way going 2-for-4 with three RBI in the loss.
The Cardinals opened the scoring in Sunday's game in the second inning on the 11th home run of the season for Ijames, a solo shot to right field on the first pitch of the inning from Carasiti for a 1-0 lead.
Louisville added to its lead an inning later with three runs on three hits to end the day for Carasiti. After a one-out single by sophomore second baseman Ryan Wright (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead HS), who was 2-for-5 with two runs scored in the win, and a walk to junior third baseman Phil Wunderlich (Chicago, Ill./Downers Grove HS), both players scored on the two-run double to right center by Ijames for a 3-0 advantage. Two batters later, Ijames scored on an RBI single through the left side by junior outfielder Drew Haynes (New Albany, Ind./New Albany HS) for the 4-0 lead.
St. John's finally broke through in the top of the sixth inning on a three-run double to right center by Wessinger to cut the Cardinals' advantage to 4-3. However, that was as close as the Red Storm would get as Louisville scored fours run in the bottom of the seventh inning to put the game out of reach.
Senior first baseman Andrew Clark (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine HS) started the inning with his 12th home run of the season, a solo shot to right field on an 0-1 pitch from St. John's reliever Kevin Kilpatrick for the first run. After Wright followed with a single through the right side and Wunderlich was hit by a pitch, Ijames hammered the first pitch he saw from Kilpatrick over the trees beyond the right field wall for his second homer of the day and the 8-3 lead. The Red Storm added a run in the eighth inning for the final four-run margin.
Up next, Louisville closes out its regular season home schedule at Jim Patterson Stadium on Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET against Eastern Kentucky. Admission is free for the game, which will be aired live on KOOL 1570 AM as well online through CardsTV at www.UofLSports.com.
- Prior to Sunday's game, the Louisville baseball program honored senior players Jeff Arnold, Andrew Clark, Adam Duvall, Justin Haywood, Matt Lea and Tyler Mathis and senior manager Matt Hulsman.
- Sunday's two-homer performance by redshirt sophomore outfielder Stewart Ijames marked the eighth time this season a Louisville player has hit two home runs in a game.
- Louisville improved to 26-4 at home this season and 134-47 overall for a .740 winning percentage at Jim Patterson Stadium since the ballpark opened in 2005.
- For the week, Stewart Ijames hit .444 (8-for-18) with three home runs and 10 RBI in the Cardinals' four games.
- With one week left in the regular season, senior first baseman Andrew Clark leads the Cardinals in hitting at .393 to go with 12 home runs and 52 RBI.