The second-ranked Louisville baseball team rallied for three runs in the ninth inning on Saturday to cap a 5-4 comeback win and complete a series sweep of Georgia Tech at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Facing a 4-2 deficit, the ninth inning surge for the Cardinals (31-4, 15-3 ACC) started with a leadoff home run from Brendan McKay off Yellow Jackets (16-18, 4-14 ACC) closer Zac Ryan. Louisville then loaded the bases as Drew Ellis walked, Colin Lyman was hit by a pitch and Devin Mann reached on a fielder’s choice when Ryan failed in his attempt to get an out at third on a sacrifice bunt. Ryan Summers tied the game with his RBI groundball to score pinch runner Tyler Fitzgerald before pinch hitter Josh Stowers delivered a RBI sacrifice fly to left to send Colin Lyman home for the game-winning run.
Righthander Lincoln Henzman came on in the bottom of the ninth and registered a pair of strikeouts to seal the win and earn his 11th save of the season. The junior moved into a tie for sixth on Louisville’s single season saves leaderboard equaling the total for Zack Burdi last season. Henzman has a 1-0 record, 1.69 ERA and 21 strikeouts in his 21.1 innings this season.
The Cardinals, who have won 23 of their 26 ACC series the last three seasons, improved to 25-1 in ACC series finales during that stretch. Louisville also completed its fifth series sweep of 2017, including the third against an ACC foe.
McKay reached base safely in three of his four plate appearances on Sunday adding two walks to go with his seventh home run of the season, a towering shot through the tops of the evergreen trees beyond right field. In four games this week, the two-way standout was 7-for-13 (.538) at the plate with two home runs, six RBI, four walks and 1.077 slugging percentage, while also allowing just one hit in eight scoreless innings to earn the victory in Thursday’s series-opener at Georgia Tech. Overall, McKay has a .405 batting average, .524 on-base percentage and .685 slugging percentage this season.
Ellis also provided a pivotal performance at the plate on Saturday connecting for a two-run homer and walking twice as the Cardinals won despite being limited to a season-low three hits. Colby Fitch added the only other hit for Louisville, which was out-hit 11-3 overall by the Yellow Jackets.
The Cardinals kicked off the scoring on Saturday when Ellis delivered his two-run homer in the second inning. Following a leadoff walk to McKay, Ellis turned on a 2-0 pitch from lefty Jay Shadday sending it over the left field wall for his sixth home run of the season and a 2-0 lead.
Georgia Tech cut the margin in half in the third inning after Austin Wilhite scored on a RBI single to left by Ryan Peurifoy. An inning later, the Yellow Jackets gained their first lead of the afternoon with a pair of runs in the fourth. Chase Murray sent Coleman Poje home with a RBI sacrifice fly to right and Xzavion Curry followed with a RBI single to right to plate Kel Johnson for the 3-2 advantage.
Tech added an insurance run in the eighth inning on a two-out RBI single to right by Curry to score Wilhite for the 4-2 cushion. That set the stage for the 10th comeback win of the season for Louisville, which also won in its final at-bat for the third time.
Lefthander Adam Wolf was credited with the win and moved to 4-0 on the season after allowing one run on two hits in 1.2 innings of relief. Righthander Sam Bordner worked 2.1 innings of scoreless relief after following lefty starter Nick Bennett, who had four strikeouts and allowed three runs in four innings.
Up next, No. 2 Louisville concludes its four-game road stretch with a visit to No. 10 Kentucky for the second and final game in the annual Battle of the Bluegrass series on Tuesday at 7 p.m., ET.
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