Louisville wins Big East opener against WVU

Ryan Wright's three-run home run in the seventh fueled ninth-ranked Louisville's 11-4 victory over West Virginia in the opening game of the Big East Championship. Down 4-1, the Cardinals scored ten unanswered runs in the game's final three innings.

Through five innings of its opening game of the BIG EAST Baseball Championship, top-seeded Louisville found itself facing a 3-1 deficit. The Cardinals had just four hits and had just one runner reach as far as third base.

In other words, Louisville had the Mountaineers right where they wanted them.

The Cardinals finished the game by scoring 10 runs in their last two turns at bat to rally for an 11-4 win against the Mountaineers in Game 3 of the 2010 BIG EAST Championship Wednesday evening at Bright House Field.

The win lifted Louisville to 47-10 on the year and it was the Cardinals' 24th come-from-behind victory of the season. It was the Cardinals' third come-from-behind win in the last seven days, coming on the heels of two wins in their last at bat in their regular-season-ending series against Notre Dame.

Second baseman Ryan Wright was 2-for-5 with five RBIs, including a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh that gave Louisville the lead.

The Cardinals advance to face the winner of Wednesday night's final game between St. John's and USF Thursday at 8 p.m. West Virginia, the No. 8 seed in the tournament, faces the loser of that game in an elimination game Thursday at 5 p.m.

West Virginia had control of the game early, thanks to a pair of home runs by all-America shortstop Jedd Gyorko and a solid outing by starting pitcher Andy Berry. Gyorko hit the fourth pitch of the game over the leftfield wall to stake the Mountaineers to a 1-0 lead and his two-run shot to right-center in the fifth made it 3-1.

The Mountaineers took a 4-1 lead on Matt Frazer's two-out home run in the top of the sixth inning. After Berry retired the Cardinals in order in the bottom of the sixth, West Virginia looked like it might score a decisive upset of the No. 9-ranked Cardinals.

But Berry walked the first batter of the seventh inning, prompting the Mountaineers to turn to the bullpen. After reliever Andy Altemus registered a strikeout and a fly ball to left for two outs, West Virginia had a chance to get out of the inning on a chopper to third. But Adam Duvall's grounder was misplayed for an error, and Andrew Clark followed with an RBI single to center to make it 6-4. Wright followed with a three-run home run to right to put the Cardinals ahead 5-4.

The Mountaineers got the potential tying run in scoring position in the top of the eighth when Grant Buckner led off with a base hit to center and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. That prompted Louisville to turn to closer Neil Holland, who worked out of the inning with a strikeout of Gyorko and a grounder to second.

The Cardinals gave Holland a cushion in the bottom of the eighth, scoring six more runs with two outs. Duvall and a two-run single to left to make it 7-4 and Wright delivered a two-run single to left-center to break it open.

Eight of the nine Louisville starters had at least one hit, while Duvall, Wright and third baseman Phil Wunderlich had two hits each. Tony Zych picked up the win, improving to 4-2 after working 1.1 innings of scoreless relief, while Holland earned his 16th save to remain the national leader.

Buckner went 3-for-4 for West Virginia, while Gyorko was 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Altemus took the loss for the Mountaineers, falling to 6-6 on the year.


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