John Dao went 4-for-5 with a home run, and Chris Dominguez drove in three runs as Louisville pounded Seton Hall 12-3 in the first round of the Big East Tournament in Clearwater, Fla.
The Cards jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first, scoring runs on a Dominguez ground out, a Stewart Ijames double, and then plating the final run when Derrick Alfonso - who started at designated hitter - was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. U of L added three more in the second, as Josh Richmond, Justin McClanahan and Dominguez drove in solo runs.
The support was superfluous for sophomore starter Matt Lea, who allowed just one run on five hits over 5 2/3 innings of work. Reliever Gavin Logsdon spelled Lea in the sixth, and stayed clean through the end of the game.
Adding to the day's positive vibe was the fact that Louisville did all this damage against one of the league's best, Seton Hall lefty Corey Young. The Cards touched Young, a first team All-Big East honoree, for seven runs on 11 hits over five innings.
The win sets up a possible showdown between Cardinal left-hander Justin Marks (7-1, 2.08 ERA), and the Big East's Pitcher of the Year, George Brown (9-0, 2.73 ERA) of St. John's. The Johnnies - who started senior Matt Tosoni - are in the middle of a game with eighth-seeded Villanova. U of L will face the winner at 5 p.m. tomorrow evening.
A victory over the 18th ranked Red Storm would do wonders for Louisville's at-large prospects, although a date with the Wildcats would pave a much clearer path for an automatic bid. Your call.