The top-seeded Louisville baseball team scored 7 unanswered runs to overcome an early deficit and knock off No. 8 seed North Carolina 7-4 in their ACC Tournament debut Wednesday night.
Freshly crowned ACC Freshman of the Year Brendan McKay didn't appear the least bit intimidated by the spectacle of his first postseason game. The two-way star went 4-for-4 at the dish with a double and a two-run home run in the home half of the 4th to get the Cards on the board.
Louisville took the lead for good in the 6th inning when captain Sutton Whiting came through with a 2-out, bases loaded single that drove in a pair of Cards and made the score 6-4. Whiting had gotten U of L within a run an inning earlier with a 2-out double.
As brilliant as McKay and Whiting were at the plate, the star of the evening for Dan McDonnell's club may have been relief pitcher Lincoln Henzman. The freshman righty entered the game in the 3rd inning with North Carolina leading 4-0, and promptly worked six scoreless innings in which he allowed three hits, no runs, and struck out six. The six inning effort was the longest of Henzman's brief career, and extended his scoreless innings streak on the season to 29.
Henzman gave way in the 9th to closer Zack Burdi, who locked down his 9th save of the season with a dominant three up, three down inning.
Louisville won its 43rd game of the season despite a relatively quiet night at the plate from some of its biggest bats. Three-hitter Corey Ray went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, while the trio of Zach Lucas, Blake Tibieri and Mike White combined to go 0-for-9.
It'll be a quick turnaround for the Cards, who will look to move to 2-0 in pool play when they face No. 5 seed Clemson at 3 p.m. on Thursday. The Tigers will be playing for their championship lives after falling to fourth-seeded Florida State 3-1 on Wednesday. No. 1 starter Kyle Funkhouser (7-4, 2.99 ERA) will be on the bump for Louisville.
Here's an updated look at how the tournament stands after two days of play:
Tuesday, May 19
Game 1: No. 7 Virginia 11, No. 10 Georgia Tech 0
Game 2: No. 8 North Carolina 5, No. 9 Virginia Tech 3
Wednesday, May 20
Game 3: No. 4 Florida State 3, No. 5 Clemson 1
Game 4: No. 2 Miami 9, No. 7 Virginia 5
Game 5: No. 1 Louisville 7, No. 8 North Carolina 4
Thursday, May 21
Game 6: No. 3 Notre Dame vs. No. 6 N.C. State. 11 a.m. | TV: RSN/ESPN3
Game 7: No. 5 Clemson vs. No. 1 Louisville, 3 p.m. | TV: RSN/ESPN3
Game 8: No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 8 North Carolina, 7 p.m. | TV: RSN/ESPN3
Friday, May 22
Game 9: No. 3 Notre Dame vs. No. 7 Virginia, 11 a.m. | TV: RSN/ESPN3
Game 10: 5 Clemson vs. No. 8 North Carolina, 3 p.m. | TV: RSN/ESPN3
Game 11: 2 Miami vs. No. 6 N.C. State, 7 p.m. | TV: RSN/ESPN3
Saturday, May 23
Game 12: No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 4 Florida State, 11 a.m. | TV: RSN/ESPN3
Game 13: No. 2 Miami vs. No. 3 Notre Dame, 3 p.m. | TV: RSN/ESPN3
Game 14: No. 6 N.C. State vs. No, 7 Virginia, 7 p.m. | TV: RSN/ESPN3
Sunday, May 24
ACC Championship: Pool A winner vs. Pool B winner, 1 p.m. | TV: ESPN2