Louisville Baseball persevered for its 1st ever ACC Tournament win in a 7-4 decision over the North Carolina Tar Heels.
The Cardinal Nine found themselves down early when the 1st Tar Heel batter of the game, Tyler Ramirez, took freshman UofL starter Sean Leland deep to take a 1-0 advantage. Leland steadied after loading the bases with no outs and managed to exit the 1st frame with just minimal damage from the leadoff homer by Ramirez.
Things were relatively quiet until the 3rd inning when Sean Leland really struggled with his command and North Carolina was able to manufacture 3-runs to take a 4-0 lead. It was during the 3rd inning that Leland was replaced by freshman Lincoln Henzman who steadied the ship. Henzman would go on to pitch 6.0 scoreless innings (his 29th scoreless inning in a row in relief).
But Louisville still needed runs as Henzman rolled on and they got the 1st spark from a Brendan McKay 2-run home run to right field in the bottom 4th inning to edge closer to UNC at 4-2. But the Cards still needed more to erase the deficit, and got some help with a Sutton Whiting double RBI in the 5th inning.
And then the Cards blew the game open in the 6th inning. Predictably, Brendan McKay got things started with a double. A sac bunt from Zach Lucas, a hard hit ground ball by Blake Tiberi that resulted in an infield error tied the game. A Will Smith hit by pitch, a Devin Hairston infield single loaded the bases and then back-to-back singles by Sutton Whiting and Nick Solak knocked in 3 collective RBIs to move the score into the Cardinals’ favor at 7-4.
From here, Lincoln Henzman just needed to cruise through the 7th & 8th before Dan McDonnell turned to Zach Burdi for a 13-pitch 9th inning save.
Game 1 is in the books. The Cards are now 1-0 in pool play with Florida State, Clemson, and North Carolina. Clemson will be fighting for survival at 3:00 when the Cards and Tigers face off after falling to FSU on Wednesday. Louisville will send its ace Kyle Funkhouser to the mound vs. Clemson and the Seminoles will play North Carolina at 7:00.
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