May 3, 2013
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - In the opener of a three-game series Villanova (11-34, 2-14 BIG EAST) was held to five hits and suffered a 6-0 loss to No. 11 Louisville (35-10, 12-4 BIG EAST) at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on Friday afternoon. Three of the six runs for the Cardinals came in the top of the ninth inning and stretched out what had been a well-played pitchers' duel through eight innings.
Louisville manufactured single runs in the top of the third, fourth and seventh innings but Wildcats senior right-handed pitcher Stephen Ostapeck (Sacramento, Calif.) nevertheless carried a five-hitter into the top of the ninth inning against one of the country's most potent lineups. Two of the first three runs scored by the Cardinals scored on outs and through the first eight innings Ostapeck allowed just one hit with a runner on base.
Ostapeck matched up against fellow right-hander Chad Green, who struck out nine while allowing four hits and walking two in 7 1/3 innings pitched. Villanova managed just seven base runners in the game and left six of them on base, with one runner being erased on a double play to end the bottom of the fifth inning.
Senior left fielder Steve Schrenk (Brigantine, N.J.) had one of the five Wildcats hits and also drew both of the team's walks. He has reached base safely in 18 of his last 19 games and leads Villanova with 29 walks for the season.
In the top of the third inning Sutton Whiting led off for Louisville and snuck a single through the hole on the right side. He then stole second, moved up to third on a sacrifice bunt by Adam Engel and scored when Nick Ratajczak lined a sacrifice fly into left-center field on a ball that Schrenk nicely tracked down.
Jeff Gardner hit a solo home run with one out in the top of the fourth inning to account for the game's second run. His shot to right field was only the fourth home run hit this season at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth, and the first by a visiting hitter. Gardner hit a ball which was out of the reach of junior right fielder Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.), who had made a diving catch into the right field fence in the second inning to rob Zak Wasserman of an extra-base hit.
As the game moved past the middle innings Ostapeck showed no signs of backing down against the Cardinals offense. After a leadoff walk in the top of the seventh inning a bad-hop single gave Louisville runners at the corners with nobody out and the top of the order due up. Ostapeck retired Engel on an infield popup and induced Ratajcak into hitting a soft chopper up the middle which allowed a run to score while the second out was being recorded. Ostapeck finished off the inning by getting Ty Young to fly out to left.
Whiting went 3-for-3 with two runs scored for Louisville, while Coco Johnson had two hits and drove in two runs.
The second game of the series will be played at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.