Frogs Drop C-USA Tournament Opener 5-1 to Louisville
May 21, 2003
NEW ORLEANS - Seventh-seeded Louisville jumped out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back in cruising to a 5-1 win over No. 2 TCU in the Conference USA opener for both teams Wednesday afternoon at Tulane's Turchin Stadium.
With the loss, TCU (35-21) will face the loser of Wednesday night's contest between No. 3-seed Tulane and sixth-seeded South Florida at 12:30 p.m. Thursday. Louisville (33-21) will take on the winner of the Tulane-USF matchup at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Louisville used two-run innings in the first and third to grab the 4-0 advantage. Catcher Ron Braun's two-run single in the first and a two-run homer in the third by left fielder Josh Bolen accounted for the scoring.
TCU answered with a run of its own in the bottom half of the third, thanks to a sacrifice fly off the bat of right fielder Jake Duncan (Marshall, Texas/Marshall).
For the second time in a week, the Cardinals roughed up C-USA Pitcher of the Year Clayton Jerome (Mesquite, Texas/Poteet). The Horned Frog starter allowed four runs on five hits, throwing 115 pitches over just six innings of work. Jerome (9-4) matched a season high by walking four batters while remaining winless over his last four starts.
Conversely, U of L starter Mike Eilers was incredibly effective against the Frogs for the second-straight week. The right-hander, who picked up the victory with 3.2 innings of two-hit relief in last Thursday's 10-6 win over TCU, earned another win with a six-inning, two-hit effort. Of the two hits allowed by the senior right-hander, only one made it out of the infield.
After a one hour and 36 minute rain delay, the Cardinals turned the ball over to closer Carlos Fernandez. The Frogs fared no better against Fernandez, registering just two hits in three innings against one of the nation's premier closers. The senior picked up his 12th save of the season.
In all, Eilers and Fernandez held a TCU squad that banged out 56 hits in three games (.441 batting average) last weekend against U of L in Fort Worth to just four hits on Wednesday afternoon (.111 average).
The Cardinals added an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning, an unearned tally off TCU reliever Zach Duncan (Marshall, Texas/Marshall). Duncan was largely effective in his three innings of relief, as he allowed just the unearned run, two hits and no walks in the outing.
First-team all-conference honoree Mike Settle (Fort Worth, Texas/Country Day) was the only Horned Frog to muster multiple hits against the two Louisville hurlers, going 2-for-4 on the afternoon.