Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cardinal Nine Sweep Away 'Nova

Just got home from Jim Patterson stadium, where a crowd of approximately 3,500 witnessed the #8 Louisville Cardinals baseball team defeat visiting Villanova 10-6. The victory completed a three-game series sweep and moved the Cards to 24-3 on the season (they are now 5-1 and tied for first in the Big East). Villanova, meanwhile, fell to 17-7.

The Cardinal Nine banged out 29 runs and over 40 hits in the three games, and at one point had scored 16 straight runs in the series. In Saturday's series-finale, UL scored two runs in each of the first four innings, and used 4 2/3 innings of scoreless work from the bullpen after starter Derek Self was knocked out in the fifth. Junior closer Neil Holland pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings to pick up his seventh save, and dropped his ERA to a nation-best 0.34. The Cardinals also turned four double plays and picked off a base runner in the top half of the first.

So far this season, UL is living up to high pre-season expectations. The team is hitting .325 collectively, despite losing first baseman Andrew Clark for 13 games, as well as the continued absence of lead-off hitter Josh Richmond. Clark has returned with a bang to lead the Cards with a .410 average, 6HR and 24 RBI. Louisville's lineup has proved tough to navigate for opposing pitchers; as a team UL is outscoring opponents 208-107, for a difference of over four runs a game. So. Ryan Wright (.398/6/30), Jr. Phil Wunderlich (.333/10/31) and Sr. Adam Duvall (.362/8/21) have led the way offensively for the Cards. In fact, the only hitter in the Lousville lineup batting below .300 is freshman left-fielder Kyle Grieshaber, who is only short of that plateau by one one-thousandth of a point at .299.

Louisville now moves on to play Kentucky in Lexington at 6:30 on Tuesday. The Wildcats, who started the year 13-2 against a weak non-conference slate, have lost seven of 12 and now stand at 18-9 (2-5 SEC). The Cards will have junior Thomas Royce (6-0, 2.03 ERA) on the hill to face the Cats, in a game that is sure to live up to the high expectations of this rejuvenated rivalry.

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