Louisville Baseball won its 1st road series of the season on Sunday in Chapel Hill vs. the #17 North Carolina Tar Heels. The Cards have been dominant at home so Sunday’s series clinching win is a big step towards a national seed next month when the NCAA Tournament begins. Also, Louisville baseball answered this reporter’s criticism of the lack of road series wins this season. Beating North Carolina 2 out of 3 is a very positive step forward and provides and major sign of optimism with a few weeks left in the season.
Outfielder Corey Ray had three hits and drove in three runs to lead the No. 5 Louisville baseball team to a 10-6 series-clinching road win over No. 17 North Carolina on Sunday afternoon at Boshamer Stadium.
A junior from Chicago, Ray was 3-for-5 with a double and scored once while matching a season-high with his three RBI as the Cardinals (38-10, 16-8 ACC) overcame an early two-run deficit to clinch their first road series victory of the season. Four other Louisville players had at least two hits, including junior outfielder Colin Lyman, who was 2-for-4 and scored three runs. Junior outfielder Logan Taylor was 3-for-3 with a double and scored twice, redshirt freshman Drew Ellis was 2-for-2 with his first collegiate home run and sophomore Brendan McKay added two hits.
On the mound, senior righthander Kyle Funkhouser won his third straight start and moved to 6-3 on the season finishing with six strikeouts while allowing four runs on nine hits in six innings. Sunday’s outing marked the 32nd career victory for Funkhouser, who also has 351 career strikeouts in a Louisville uniform.
The Tar Heels (30-17, 10-14 ACC) opened the scoring Sunday after Brian Miller led off the game with a triple down the left field line and scored on a RBI single from Adam Pate for the 1-0 lead in the first inning. Carolina threatened for more putting runners on the corners with no outs, but Funkhouser’s 15th career pickoff nabbed Tyler Ramirez at first base and was followed by a strikeout and groundout to end the frame.
North Carolina added to the lead in the second inning on a RBI single to left by Zac Gahagan to send Eli Sutherland home for the 2-0 lead. Sutherland led off the inning with a double to left center and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Tyler Lynn before scoring.
Louisville cut into the deficit in the third inning when Ellis connected on a 1-0 offering from righty Jason Morgan sending a solo shot over the left field wall. An inning later, the Cardinals gained their first lead of the day on a two-out, two-run single to left by Ray to score sophomore third baseman Blake Tiberi and Lyman for the 3-2 advantage in the fourth. Tiberi singled to start the inning and was followed by Lyman reaching on an HBP and an infield single by Ellis before Ray drove home two runs.
The road club added to the margin with a four-run sixth inning, highlighted by a three-run double from junior catcher Will Smith. Lyman singled to start things and was followed by a double from Taylor and an intentional walk to Ray before Smith’s seventh double of the season scored the trio. Junior second baseman Nick Solak followed with a RBI sacrifice fly to center to score Smith for the fourth run of the inning.
After Gahagan connected for a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth for the Tar Heels, Louisville answered with a three-run seventh inning. Sophomore shortstop Devin Hairston led off with a triple to center and scored the first run on a RBI sacrifice fly to right by senior first baseman Danny Rosenbaum. Later in the inning, Ray singled to right to score Lyman, while a fielding error by rightfielder Adam Pate allowed Taylor to score the third run of the inning.
The Tar Heels added a pair of runs in the ninth inning on a two-run double from Logan Warmoth before freshman righthander Sam Bordner closed the door recording the final three outs of the game without allowing a hit. Sophomore righty Lincoln Henzman added two innings of shutout relief with two strikeouts for the Cardinals.
Up next, No. 5 Louisville plays the fourth of seven straight games against nationally ranked foes with a midweek visit to No. 6 Vanderbilt on Tuesday at 7 p.m., ET.
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