LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 30, 2010) – No. 12 Louisville broke a 3-3 tie with two runs in the bottom of the eighth to defeat the Rutgers baseball team 5-3 in the series opener and the Cardinals earned a 9-4 win over the Scarlet Knights in the nightcap to take both games of a Friday doubleheader at Jim Patterson Stadium. RU fell to 21-19 overall and 10-7 in the BIG EAST, while UofL improved to 35-7 overall and 13-4 in the league.
In the opener, Louisville’s Phil Wunderlich led off the bottom of the second with a home run to right field to give the Cardinals the early lead.
Junior Michael Lang (Dumont, N.J.) responded for the Scarlet Knights with a two-out home run to left field in the fifth to tie it up.
Ryan Wright game the Cardinals the lead back with a two-run home run in the sixth, however the Scarlet Knights once again responded with a run in the top of the seventh as junior Brandon Boykin (Teaneck, N.J.) cleared the left-field fence for a solo blast to make it 3-2.
RU tied it up an inning later with its third home run of the contest as senior Jayson Hernandez (Belmar, N.J.) cleared the fence with two outs in the eighth to make it 3-3.
Meanwhile, starter Dennis Hill (Hillsdale, N.J.) pitched six innings with five strikeouts and handed the ball over to the bullpen in the seventh. Sophomore Nathaniel Roe (Plainfield, N.J.) worked a scoreless seventh and, with a man on in the eighth, was relieved by Rob Smorol (Clark, N.J.). A pair walks loaded the bases and RU went to its freshman closer Tyler Gebler (Toms River, N.J.). Louisville’s Stewart Ijames delivered for the Cardinals with a two-run double down the left-field line to break the tie and provide the game-winning runs.
With the two-run lead, Louisville went to its closer Neil Holland, who worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 11th save of the season.
Louisville starter Thomas Royse (8-1) struck out four and scattered eight hits with three runs allowed in eight innings of work to earn the win, while Roe (2-1) took the loss in relief.
Lang and Hernandez each had two hits to go along with their home runs and account for four of RU’s eight hits in the first game.
Holding a 5-4 edge, Louisville plated a pair of runs each in the seventh and eighth innings to take the nightcap, 9-5.
Wunderlich tallied his second home run of the day in the third – a two-run shot – to cap five-run inning for the Cardinals and stake UofL out to the early advantage.
The Scarlet Knights stormed back with Hernandez’s second solo home run of the day in the fifth and got three more runs in the sixth thanks to RBI doubles from Lang and Pat Biserta (Pt. Pleasant, N.J.) and an RBI single from Steve Nyisztor (Toms River, N.J.) to cut the deficit to 5-4.
Andrew Clark gave the Cardinals some breathing room with a two-run home run in the seventh. UofL got its second two-run home run in as many innings as Ijames gave the Cardinals a four-run cushion with the two-run blast to right field off newly-inserted Jerry Elsing (Montville, N.J.) in the eighth.
Louisville’s Matt Koch (2-0) got the win in 5.1 innings of work in his first career start. Senior Casey Gaynor (Toms River, N.J.), making his school-record 48th career start for RU, pitched seven complete innings with four strikeouts in the loss to move to 5-5. He retired nine straight at one point in the contest.
Nyisztor collected three hits in the doubleheader to extend his hitting streak to 22 games.
Rutgers and Louisville will close the series with an 11 a.m. game Saturday at Jim Patterson Stadium