Sophomore Corey Ray stole home to help the No. 3 Louisville baseball team complete a 6-5 comeback victory and earn a conference sweep over the visiting Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Saturday evening at Jim Patterson Stadium.
In the series against Wake Forest, the Cardinals (30-9, 19-2 ACC) had stolen 17 bases, with the final one being most dramatic as the Cardinals rallied from a 5-4 deficit to complete the doubleheader sweep following a 10-1 win in the opener. Sophomore righthanded flamethrower Zack Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill.) was awarded the win to improve to 2-0. Wake Forest’s Will Craig was charged with the loss to fall to 1-3 after giving up two runs in 2.2 innings of work.
Trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth, the Cardinals mounted a rally for their fourth walk off win of the season and the second in the series. With one out, Logan Taylor (Lexington, Ky.) reached on a bunt single. After a stolen base and an intentional walk to Ray, freshman Brendan McKay (Darlington, Pa.) hit an infield single to load the bases with one out. Zach Lucas (Louisville, Ky.) hit a screamer to the shortstop for the second out. The Cardinals then tied the game on a wild pitch by Craig to Taylor while also moving the runners up a base. A walk to Blake Tiberi (Taylor Mill, Ky.) loaded the bases and setup the surprise stolen base by Ray to clinch the walk-off victory.
With the Cardinals leading 4-2 in the ninth inning, the Demon Deacons (22-19, 9-12 ACC) took their first lead of the game when Kevin Jordan hit a pinch hit three-run home run over the right field wall off Burdi. All three runs in the inning were unearned after a Louisville error with two outs extended the game.
Sophomore lefty Josh Rogers (New Albany, Ind.), Reigning ACC Pitcher of the Week, stymied the Demon Deacons offense, giving up one run on three hits while striking out five in seven innings of work. Wake Forest right hander starter Parker Dunshee gave up two runs in five innings of work.
After three missed scoring opportunities earlier in the game, the Cardinals broke a scoreless game with two runs in the fifth inning. Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa.) started a two-out rally reaching base after getting hit on the foot. Nick Solak (Woodridge, Ill.) followed with a double to extend his hitting streak to 14 games and score Whiting from first base for the 1-0 lead. After an intentional walk to Ray, McKay cashed in a run with a RBI single to right field to score Solak.
Louisville added two runs in the sixth inning to extend their lead to four. Tiberi led off the inning with a single with Ryan Summers (Westfield, Mass.) replacing Tiberi at first after reaching on a fielder’s choice. Following a balk, the Cardinals perfectly executed a hit and run with Devin Hairston (Lexington, Ky.) driving in Summers to push the lead to three. A few batters later, Hairston scored on a wild pitch to give the Cardinals a 4-0 cushion.
Wake Forest got on the scoreboard with two runs in the eighth. The Demon Deacons started the inning with Justin Yurchak’s single off Rogers, which ended his day on the mound. Jake Sparger (Eau Claire, Wis.) was called on and got two quick outs before the Demon Deacons loaded the bases with two outs after back-to-back singles by Seth Constable and Joey Rodriguez. The Cardinals called on lefthander Robert Strader (Louisville, Ky.) to face lefthander Nate Mondou, who put the Demon Deacons on the board with a two-run single to left field. Burdi entered and got a one-pitch groundout to strand runners on second and third.
Coming into the series, the Demon Deacons was leading the conference with a .310 batting average. The Cardinals’ pitching staff limited the Demon Deacons to a .197 average for the series, well below their season average, handing Wake Forest their first sweep of the season.
Up next, No. 3 Louisville will hit the road for a midweek visit to Cincinnati on Tuesday at 6 p.m., ET. The game will be aired on radio by 93.9 The Ville.
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