Facing an early deficit for the second straight ACC Championship outing on Thursday, third-ranked Louisville could not duplicate its Wednesday night comeback suffering a 7-2 loss to Clemson at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
After battling back from a 4-0 hole in the 7-4 victory against North Carolina a day earlier, the Cardinals (43-15) found themselves down 5-1 through two innings on Thursday and never recovered to even their Pool A record to 1-1. Louisville will have a day off on Friday before closing pool play against Florida State on Saturday at 11 a.m., ET.
Sophomore Nick Solak (Woodridge, Ill.) led the way on a tough day for the Cardinals going 3-for-4 with a double, while freshman Ryan Summers (Westfield, Mass.) was 2-for-4 with a double and one RBI. Thursday marked the sixth time in the last seven games the opponent has scored first against Louisville.
Clemson (32-26, 1-1 Pool A) wasted little time on Thursday plating a trio of runs in the first inning against Louisville junior righty Kyle Funkhouser (Oak Forest, Ill.). Reed Rohlman started the scoring for the Tigers with a two-run single to center and Robert Jolly added a RBI single later for the 3-0 cushion.
The Cardinals answered with a run in the second on a two-out RBI double from Summers to score sophomore Will Smith (Louisville, Ky.). Louisville had a chance for more with two in scoring position and two outs but Clemson lefty Zack Erwin struck out freshman Devin Hairston (Lexington, Ky.) to halt the threat.
After holding the Cardinals to only the one run in the top of the frame, the Tigers responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second. Steven Duggar started the scoring with a RBI sacrifice fly to center before Tyler Krieger added a RBI single later in the inning for the 5-1 lead.
Clemson extended the lead in the fifth inning on a two-run double from Weston Wilson for the 7-1 cushion. The Cardinals plated the final run of the night in the ninth inning when sophomore Logan Taylor (Lexington, Ky.), pinch running after a leadoff single by freshman Colby Fitch (Rocheport, Mo.), scored from second after a throwing error by Clemson shortstop Eli White.
Erwin earned the win for the Tigers and moved to 7-4 on the season after allowing just one run on six hits with 11 strikeouts in eight strong innings. Funkhouser suffered the loss for Louisville and dropped to 7-5 overall after allowing five earned runs on nine hits in five innings.
The Cardinals’ Pool A finale against the Seminoles on Saturday will be televised through the ACC’s Regional Sports Network as well as aired on 93.9 The Ville in Louisville.
Corey Ray Accepts Invitation to USA Collegiate National Team
Louisville sophomore outfielder Corey Ray has accepted an invitation to the 2015 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and will be a member of the 24-player squad this summer.
An All-ACC First Team selection earlier this week, Ray is hitting .319 with 11 home runs, 48 RBI, 13 doubles, 45 runs scored and 31 stolen bases while starting all 58 games. In 30 ACC games, Ray was even tougher at the plate with a .352 average, seven home runs, 27 RBI and 24 steals, including one very memorable swipe of home in a walk-off win against Wake Forest.
The USA Collegiate National Team will compete in international friendship series against Chinese Taipei and Cuba in North Carolina, as well as participating in the Americas Baseball Festival against the Canadian Senior National Team, the Cuban National Team and the USA Baseball Pan American Games Team. The summer schedule begins on June 20 and will continue through July 8.
Ray is the eighth Louisville player to earn an invitation from the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team joining Kyle Funkhouser (2014), Nick Burdi (2013), Ryan Wright (2010), Phil Wunderlich (2009), Tony Zych (2009), Justin Marks (2008) and Mark Jurich (2002). Ray is also the 15th player coached or signed by Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell, who served as an assistant with the 2009 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, to earn international baseball experience.
Guided by St. John’s head coach Ed Blankmeyer, the 2015 USA Collegiate National Team will report to Cary, N.C., on June 18 before kicking off the summer schedule against the Holly Springs Salamanders of the Coastal Plain League on June 20 at the National Training Complex.
Third-ranked Louisville (43-15) will conclude pool play at the 2015 ACC Baseball Championship on Saturday at 11 a.m., ET against No. 10 Florida State. The winner of Saturday’s game will advance to Sunday afternoon’s ACC title game.
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