Rutgers Overpowers Louisville, 9-1, In Big East Championship

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CLEARWATER, Fla. -  Charlie Law went 2-for-4 with a double and pitched a complete game with nine strikeouts as Rutgers eliminated top-seeded Louisville from the Big East Baseball Championship Thursday evening at Bright House Field. The Scarlet Knights tagged the Cardinals for 14 hits on their way to a 9-1 win.
 
Rutgers (27-29) jumped to a 4-0 lead after the first inning, built an 8-0 cushion after five and held a 9-0 lead through eight. Five of the nine Scarlet Knight players had at least two hits, while seven of the nine batters had at least one RBI.
 
The loss for Louisville (46-12) was the Cardinals' second in the Big East Championship, marking the first time the tournament's top seed failed to win a game in the bracket since St. John's in 2008. The Cardinals entered the Big East Championship riding a 16-game winning streak, but dropped back-to-back games for just the fourth time this season.
 
Rutgers, which dropped its tournament opener to USF Wednesday, will continue in the bracket with a Friday-evening elimination game against either Connecticut or USF at 6 p.m ET.
 
Rutgers put its leadoff man on base in seven innings, while Louisville was unable to take advantage of its chances. The Cardinals left 10 men on base and had just two extra-base hits against Law.
 
Rutgers opened the bottom of the first with back-to-back hits as Matt Tietz and Nick Favatella set the table for rightfielder Steve Zavala, who roped a base hit to center, giving the Scarlet Knights a 2-0 lead. Law followed with an RBI single and Brian O'Grady delivered an RBI double down the rightfield line, making it 4-0.
 
Jeff Melillo's sacrifice fly in the second gave Rutgers a 5-0 lead and the Scarlet Knights made it 6-0 when Law led off the bottom of the third with a double and came home on Bill Hoermann's base hit to right.
 
Favatella and Vinny Zarrillo hit back-to-back RBI singles in the fifth to give Rutgers an 8-0 lead. Rutgers added a ninth run in the eight inning on on Melillo's sacrifice fly to left. Louisville got its run in the top of the ninth on Zak Wasserman's RBI single to right, but hopes for a rally fell when a baserunning error accounted for the first out, allowing Law to escape with just one run allowed.
 
Law allowed nine hits and three walks in the 126-pitch, complete-game win as he improved to 6-5.
 
Louisville starter Chad Green lasted just two innings and allowed nine hits and six runs (five earned) with two walks and two strikeouts. Green fell to 9-3.
 
Louisville will learn its NCAA Championship destination either Sunday - when the eight regional sites are announced - or Monday, when the full field of 64 is released.