Carolina came out hot scoring early and building a fast lead against the Cardinals but could not maintain that pressure for the entire game. The offense dried up after the third inning and Louisville went to work to seal the game with a four run 6th that put them up for good. Benton Moss got through the Cardinals' order once without any issues but the second time around proved his undoing. ACC freshman of the year Brendan McKay led the way for Louisville, going 4-4 with a home run to jump start their offense. Carolina will face Florida State at 7pm on Thursday in their next game.
Game Summary (inning by inning):
Tyler Ramirez led off for the Heels against Cardinal pitcher Sean Leland and smashed one into right field which bounced back into play and was originally a triple before a review confirmed the home run. Alex Rayburn then hit a grounder between short and third for a single, Landon Lassiter was hit in the arm by a pitch and Skye Bolt walked to load the bases with no one out. Korey Dunbar struck out for Carolina's first out and Logan Warmoth followed up with a fly out to shallow left which was not deep enough to score Rayburn from third. Joe Dudek followed up with a pop out to second to end the inning and Heels were unable to capitalize on the loaded bases. In the bottom half of the inning Benton Moss took the mound for the Heels facing a stacked Cardinal order in whaich the first four hitters all hit more than .315. Moss started strong with a strike out of the lead-off man Sutton Whiting. n end of the bat line drive caught by Dudek made out number two and Moss struck out Corey Ray looking to end the inning
Brian Miller walked on four pitches to lead off the second for the Heels. Then Zack Gahagan tried to bunt him to second, he bunted foul with two strikes to strike out and bring up Tyler Ramirez with one on and one out. Ramirez walked before Alex Rayburn flew out to shallow left to make it two outs. Landon Lassiter then flew out to deep right center field to end the inning and strand two. ACC Freshman of the year Brendan McKay then lined into center for a base hit to start the inning for the Cards. Moss struck out Zach Lucas to bring up the Louisville DH Blake Tiberi who flew out to short. Moss then struck out the catcher Will Smith looking to end the inning.
Skye Bolt led off for the Heels and took a four pitch walk to stroll down to first. The second consecutive four pitch walk to lead off an inning from Leland prompted action in the Cardinal bullpen, Lincoln Henzman began to warm up for the Cardinals. Dunbar then came up to the plate for the Heels and got two quick strikes on bunt attempts but then smoked a line drive into right center field for a double which scored Bolt from first without any play at the plate. Logan Warmoth then laid down a perfect bunt on the third base line for an infield single and advancing Dunbar to third. A wild pitch from Leland which the catcher Smith could not immediately find scored Dunbar and advanced Warmoth to second. Then Louisville pitching coach came out to pull the embattled Leland for Henzman. Henzman inherited a 2-0 count on Joe Dudek with no outs from Leland. Henzman walked Dudek on a wild pitch which also advanced Warmoth to third. Brian Miller then came up to bat for the Heels and initially attempted to bunt before grounding into a fielder's choice at second scoring Warmoth and reaching first himself. Miller then attempted to steal second on the first pitch to Gahagan but was caught easily by the catcher Smith. Gahagan then flew out to center to end the half inning with Carolina leading, 4-0. Moss faced the center fielder Mike White to start the bottom of the third and struck him out swinging. The Cardinal number 9 hitter, short stop Devin Hairston, then grounded out to second base to bring up Whiting who struck out to end the inning.
Tyler Ramirez led off for the Heels to start the fourth. He promptly struck out on four pitches to bring up Rayburn. Rayburn then hit a line drive down the first base line which landed just in play for a standing double. Lassiter then hit a deep fly out to center, Rayburn tagged and made it to third without a play. Bolt was unable to do anything with the runner on third as he struck out to end the half inning. Moss' first pitch of the inning hit Nick Solak on the arm and brought up Ray who struck out swinging. This brought up the clean up hitter McKay who launched one over the right field wall to score two runs. Lucas then came up and tried to bunt for a hit but it was fielded by Gahagan and the out was made at first. Tiberi then grounded out to Moss to end the inning with the score 4-2.
Dunbar led off the top of the fifth with a strike out to bring Logan Warmoth to the plate. Warmoth flew out to center field to make it two outs for the Heels with Joe Dudek at the plate. Dudek hit the ball up the middle for a single before Miller grounded out to second to end the top of the fifth. The catcher Smith led off for the Cardinals, he hit a line drive at Lassiter in left but Lassiter misjudged it and let it drop for a double for Smith, this prompted a visit from Pitching Coach Forbes. After the meeting White grounded out to second to advance Smith to third and bring up the nine hitter Hairston. Hairston hit a sharp grounder to Warmoth who easily threw out Smith--who had run on contact--at home. this brought up Whiting with two outs and a man on first, Whiting hit a double to right center field just out of the reach of the diving Ramirez to score Hairston from first. Moss then walked Solak to bring up Corey Ray and prompt action in the Carolina bullpen. Ray grounded out to second after a long at-bat to end the inning but the Cardinals had already cut the lead to one.
Zack Gahagan led off for the Heels with a ground out to second to bring up Tyler Ramirez who struck out swinging. Rayburn also struck out to bring the Cardinals up to bat. McKay led off for the Cardinals and hit a double off the left field wall to bring up Zach Lucas. Lucas sacrifice bunted McKay over to third, bringing Tiberi up to bat with one out. Tiberi hit a hard grounder to Warmoth that proved too hot to handle for the short stop as McKay scored and Tiberi reached first with the game tied. This marked the end of the night for Moss as Coach Forbes came out and pulled him for Jason Morgan.Morgan faced Smith as his first batter and hit him on the arm with his third pitch to put runners at first and second with one out and the go ahead run at second. Morgan struck out White to bring up Hairston with two outs. Hairston beat a throw to first from Gahagan to load the bases for Whiting and put the go ahead run at third. Whiting hit a single into left field to score two and give Louisville its first lead. Solak followed up with a single of his own to plate Hairston and give Louisville a three run lead. This ended Morgan's night and the Heels brought in Hansen Butler. Butler got Ray for his first hitter and Ray grounded out to second to end the inning after a wild pitch had advanced the runners to second and third.
Landon Lassiter led off for the Heels in the seventh with a walk before a Bolt strike out and a Dunbar fly out. Logan Warmoth then grounded out to short to bring up the seventh inning stretch. McKay led off for the Cardinals and lofted a fly ball into shallow center field which dropped for a single. Lucas then flew out to second to bring up the new DH for the Cardinals, Colin Lyman. Lyman struck out and that brought Smith up with two outs and one on first. Smith flew out to Bolt to end the inning with the score still 7-4.
Dudek led off for the Heels with a fly out to center. Adam Pate then replaced Brian Miller as DH and hit a single up the middle. Gahagan then came up for the Heels and hit a grounder to short to get out but Pate advanced to second. Ramirez then grounded out to short to end the inning for Carolina, giving the Heels only one more chance to get back in the game. Spencer Traynor took the mound for the Heels in the bottom of the eighth, first facing Logan Taylor a substitute center fielder. Taylor flew out to right and Hairston flew out to short after him. This brought up Whiting who flew out to deep left field to end the inning and bring up the Heels.
Carolina needed three runs to keep playing into the night. Alex Rayburn led off for the Heels and faced the newly installed Zack Burdi, the All-ACC first team closer who gave up only 11 hits all season. Burdi came in hot, hitting 98 mph on his second pitch. Rayburn never really caught up and struck out. Lassiter came up to bat with the Heels now needing more runs than they had outs to spare. Lassiter struck out looking on a 97 mph fastball. Bolt then came up as the Heel's last shot. He flew out to left to end the game.