No. 12 Louisville Falls to Vanderbilt in NCAA Regional

 
Louisville sophomore Phil Wunderlich

Louisville sophomore Phil Wunderlich

May 31, 2009

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The 12th-ranked Louisville Cardinals faced and early deficit and was never able to dig out dropping an 8-4 decision to Vanderbilt in Sunday night's NCAA Baseball Regional game in front of 4,006 fans at Jim Patterson Stadium.

With the loss, the top-seeded Cardinals (46-16) and third-seeded Commodores (37-26) will meet for a second time in the NCAA Regional and for the third time this season on Monday at 7 p.m. ET at Jim Patterson Stadium with the winner advancing to next week's NCAA Super Regional against No. 2 national seed Cal State Fullerton. Tickets for the final game of the Louisville Regional will be on sale at 9 a.m. ET at the U of L Ticket Office at the Swain Student Activities Center. Gates will open at Jim Patterson Stadium at 5 p.m. ET.

With the game tied at 1-1, the Commodores scored four runs on four hits and two costly Louisville errors to gain command for good. For the second straight game, the Louisville offense was not at its best as the Cardinals struggled to gain any momentum at the plate. Sophomore Phil Wunderlich, the Cards' leading hitter at .369, was Louisville's only player with at least two hits as the Chicago native finished 2-for-4 with two RBI.

On the mound, Louisville sophomore lefty starter Bob Revesz never found his comfort zone allowing four earned runs on nine hits in 3.0 innings to fall to 4-2 overall, while the Cards' defense did not have its best day committing three errors in the losing effort.

For the third straight game at the 2009 NCAA Regional, Louisville faced an early deficit as Vanderbilt scored one run on three hits in the first inning. After Revesz retired the first two hitters of the inning, first baseman Curt Casali singled to left field and moved to third on a single up the middle by rightfielder Steven Liddle. Catcher Andrew Giobbi then followed with an RBI infield single to score Casali for a 1-0 advantage.

 

 

In the bottom of the first, the Cardinals ended the Commodores' scoreless streak in the first inning with one run on two hits to even the score at 1-1. Sophomore outfielder Josh Richmond led things off with a single to right center off Vanderbilt starter Nick Christiani. After moving to second on a walk to junior first baseman Andrew Clark, he scored on an RBI single to right field by Wunderlich. Prior to the Cards' run in the first, the Commodores' pitching staff had not allowed a run in 19.2 innings dating back to their 5-4 loss to Middle Tennessee on the first day of the NCAA Regional.

That set the stage for Vanderbilt's decisive second inning and the turning point in the game. The inning started with leftfielder Joe Loftus reaching base on a throwing error by Dao and that was followed with third baseman Jason Esposito reaching base on a bunt single to the pitcher. Loftus then scored and Esposito moved to third on an RBI single by second baseman Riley Reynolds to make it 2-1 Commodores.

Esposito then scored moments later on an RBI single by shortstop Brian Harris to push the lead to 3-1. After centerfielder Jonathan White reached base on an error by Cards' third baseman Chris Dominguez to load the bases, Reynolds scored on an RBI single by Casali to push the margin to 4-1. The Commodores' final run of the second inning came as Harris scored from third on an RBI sacrifice fly to center by Giobbi for a 5-1 advantage.

After a scoreless third inning, the Commodores pushed their lead to 6-1 in the fourth inning as Harris hit his ninth home run of the season, this one over the wall in the left field. And after a scoreless fifth inning, Vanderbilt added two more runs in the sixth as Reynolds and Casali scored on a two-run double to left by Liddle of Cards' righty reliever Tyler Mathis for an 8-1 advantage and the Cardinals' largest deficit since May 10.

Louisville came back in the bottom of the sixth with two runs on three hits to cut the `Dores' lead to 8-3. Junior second baseman Adam Duvall led things off with an infield single and moved to second on a single to left field by Clark. After a walk to Dominguez loaded the bases, Duvall scored from third on a close 4-3 double-play off the bat of Wunderlich. Freshman Ryan Wright followed with an RBI single to left field to score Clark to cut the margin to five.

The Cardinals added another run in the eighth as Duvall was hit by a pitch from Vanderbilt reliever Drew Hayes, moved to second on an error by Harris at shortstop on a groundball off the bat of Dominguez and then scored on an RBI single through the right side by Wunderlich to make it 8-4 Commodores. However, that was as close as the Cardinals would get as reliever Chase Reid recorded the final five outs for his second save of the season.

Christiani earned the win for Vanderbilt after allowing three runs on seven hits in 6.0 innings to improve to 6-6 overall. For the Cards, Mathis allowed two runs on three hits in 3.0 innings, while sophomore righty Neil Holland pitched three scoreless innings of relief to keep Louisville's chances at a comeback alive.

Louisville Notes
- With the loss, Louisville finished 16-3 in the month of May. Overall, the Cardinals have won 17 of their last 20 games overall dating back to April 26.

- The loss on Sunday night ended a stretch of seven straight wins for the Cardinals at Jim Patterson Stadium.

- The 4,006 fans at Jim Patterson Stadium for Sunday night's game ranks fourth on the Cards' all-time attendance list and is the second largest this season behind only Friday's school record total of 4,605.

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