April 21, 2010

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Senior first baseman Andrew Clark and sophomore second baseman Ryan Wright finished with three hits each, while redshirt freshman righty Justin Amlung earned his first career win to lead the 11th-ranked Louisville baseball team to a 7-4 victory over No. 26 Western Kentucky on Wednesday night at Jim Patterson Stadium.

With the win, the fifth straight for Louisville over Western Kentucky, the 2010 Cardinals improved to 30-6 overall and reached the 30-win mark the faster than any team in school history. The previous record was held by the 1984 Cardinals, who reached 30 wins in 39 games. The win also completed a second straight two-game season sweep for Louisville over WKU, which dropped to 28-13 with the loss.

At the plate, Clark (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine HS) and Wright (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead HS) led the way for Louisville, which out-hit WKU 16-9 overall, as each finished 3-for-5 overall. Clark added two runs and an RBI, while Wright had one RBI and scored once in the win. Five other Cardinals finished with two hits each led by senior catcher Jeff Arnold (Louisville, Ky./Male HS), who finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored, and redshirt sophomore outfielder Stewart Ijames (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS), who went 2-for-4 with two RBI.

On the mound, Amlung (Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier HS) led the way on a designated staff day for Louisville with four strikeouts and only two hits allowed in 3.0 scoreless innings in his fourth career start to earn his first ever win and improve to 1-1 on the season. Sophomore righty Tony Zych (Monee, Ill./St. Rita HS) allowed only one hit with five strikeouts in 2.2 innings of scoreless relief, while junior lefty Brian Feekin (Papillion, Neb./Papillion-La Vista HS) recorded the final out of the game for his first career save.

After a pair of scoreless innings to open the game, Louisville started the scoring in the third inning with two runs on four hits off WKU starter Tanner Perkins, who earned the loss to fall to 3-4 on the season. Junior outfielder Drew Haynes (New Albany, Ind./New Albany HS) led off the inning with a single to left field, moved to second on a single by Arnold, advanced to third on a bunt single by Duvall and then scored on an RBI single to left by Wright for a 1-0 lead. The advantage was increased to 2-0 moments later on an RBI sacrifice fly to deep left field by junior Phil Wunderlich (Chicago, Ill./Downers Grove HS).

The Hilltoppers cut the deficit in half in the top of the fifth on an RBI bunt groundout by shortstop Logan Robbins to score third baseman Casey Dykes, while the Cardinals pushed their lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth as Clark scored from third on a groundout by Wunderlich.

WKU threatened in the top of the sixth with runners on first and third and only one out, but Zych came out of the bullpen to strike out Ryan Huck and get Dykes to groundout to first to end the inning. The Cardinals then added to the lead in the bottom of the sixth with four runs on five hits all with two outs.

Louisville started its two-out scoring rally in the bottom of the sixth with a single by Arnold, who then scored on an RBI double to left center by Duvall for a 4-1 lead. Clark followed with an RBI single right field to score Duvall for the second run of the inning. Two batters later, with the bases loaded, Ijames plated Clark and Wright with a two-run single to center to give the Cardinals a 7-1 advantage.

Western Kentucky scored three unearned runs in the ninth on a two-run double to right center by Kory Petri and an RBI single up the middle by Blake Crabtree for the final 7-4 margin. Petri led the Hilltoppers going 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.

Up next, Louisville will continue its eight-game homestand against BIG EAST Conference foe Seton Hall with a three-game series on Friday (6 p.m. ET), Saturday (4 p.m. ET) and Sunday (1 p.m. ET) at Jim Patterson Stadium. Admission is free for the entire series.