The No. 2 Louisville baseball team took a lead with a pair of eighth inning runs while junior righthander Lincoln Henzman made sure the advantage held up as the Cardinals defeated No. 16 Virginia 4-3 on Sunday afternoon for a series-clinching victory at Davenport Field.
The Cardinals (24-3, 10-2 ACC), who earned a 5-2 win in Friday’s series-opener and dropped an 11-2 decision in Saturday’s game, clinched their fourth ACC series triumph in as many chances and their sixth straight series victory overall with Sunday’s result. Louisville maintained a share of the top spot in the ACC Atlantic Division while also improving to 7-3 all-time against Virginia (21-8, 5-7 ACC), including a 5-1 edge in Charlottesville.
“I told the players after the game that they have to enjoy these kinds of games because this is fun and these types of games are what make playing the ACC so much fun. I also thought we showed our toughness, which is something we talked about all weekend long,” said Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell. “Devin Hairston had the at-bat of the game because Virginia is six outs away from the win and they go to their dominant closer. Devin gets ahead 2-0 and was able to square up a fastball for the home run, which changed everything. From there, Brendan gives us a runner in scoring position and we’re able to find a way to get the lead. And then Henzman closes it out on another great day for our bullpen.”
Facing a 3-2 deficit entering the eighth inning, Louisville’s rally started when Hairston turned on a 2-0 pitch from Cavaliers closer Tommy Doyle sending it over the wall in left center for a game-tying blast. The home run was the second of the weekend and third of the season for Hairston. McKay followed Hairston with a double down the left field line before being replaced by pinch runner Logan Taylor. After moving to third on a sacrifice bunt from junior Drew Ellis, Taylor scored the game-winning run moments later as UVA catcher Robbie Coman committed a throwing error when senior Colin Lyman successfully stole second.
Louisville carried that lead into the bottom of the eighth inning when Coman reached base with a one-out single against sophomore lefthander Adam Wolf. That’s when the Cardinals made the call to the bullpen for Henzman, who closed the game by retiring five of the six batters he faced, including one by strikeout, to record his second save of the weekend and seventh of the season. In his two relief outings against the Cavaliers, Henzman surrendered just two hits in three innings of shutout work.
Wolf added his second win of the series with one inning of shutout relief to move 2-0 on the season. Hairston and Wolf combined with sophomore righty Sam Bordner, who pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, and freshman lefty Adam Elliott, who recorded one out without allowing a run, to deliver 5.2 innings of shutout relief inSunday’s victory.
Along with Hairston’s pivotal home run, the Cardinals were led offensively by McKay, who was 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a run scored. Ellis added two hits and scored once, while Lyman singled, was hit by two pitches, drove in a run and had one stolen base.
The Cavaliers opened the scoring Sunday with a run in the first inning on a RBI single up the middle by Adam Haseley to plate Ernie Clement. The Cardinals answered in the second inning with a pair of runs on three hits. McKay started the inning with a double down the right field line and moved to third on a single by Ellis before scoring on a RBI bunt single from Lyman. Sophomore Zeke Pinkham added a RBI groundout later in the inning to send Ellis home for the second run.
Virginia regained the lead with a pair of runs in the fourth inning on a RBI groundout by Cameron Simmons and a two-out RBI single from Jake McCarthy. The Cavaliers held that narrow advantage until Louisville’s game-changing eighth inning.
Up next, the Cardinals begin a five-game homestand when Kentucky visits Jim Patterson Stadium on Tuesday at 6 p.m., ET.
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