After the game on Saturday was cancelled due to widespread storms that covered a majority of the midwest/eastern portion of the United States, Louisville (19-4, 3-3 ACC) and Notre Dame (12-9, 4-5 ACC) played a double-header on Sunday. The Cards would need to win both games in order to slip away with a series win due to falling 4-3 on Friday evening.
The first game on Sunday morning could not have started any better as Christian Knapczyk (3-4, HR, 2B, RBI) belted his first home run of the season on the first pitch of the game. Although he is not known for his power, Knapczyk flexed his muscles to give the Cards an early 1-0 lead on this no-doubter to right field.
Fast forward to the top of the 4th inning, with Louisville still clinging on to a 1-0 lead, Eddie King Jr. singled, scoring Ryan McCoy to double the lead.
Logan Beard (1-3, HR, RBI) continued to add on with a solo home run in the top of the 5th inning to center field. At this point of the game, the offense was starting to click and Greg Farone (4.1 IP, 3H, 3ER, 8K) was cruising.
Then the bottom of the 5th inning happened.
Jack Penny (solo), Carter Putz (three-run), and Brooks Coetzee (solo) each homered in the bottom of the 5th inning to give the Fighting Irish a 5-3 lead.
Farone continued to stockpile strikeouts, but it appeared that the lead-off home run to start the 5th shook him up as he walked the next two batters and was immediately replaced by Will Koger (L, 2-1).
After Koger allowed 2 runs in 2.2 innings, Kaleb Corbett took over on mound, tossing a scoreless 8th inning. He continues to show progress from last season and has been a steady arm when his number has been called.
Louisville pitchers picked up 11 strikeouts in the first game, allowing just 6 hits, but also walked 6 batters. Of the 5 runs scored by Notre Dame, 2 of them were from batters that reached base by the way of a walk.
The Cards had plenty of opportunities to reclaim the lead, loading the bases in both the 7th and 8th innings, managing to score just one run, via a Tyeler Hawkins walk. One swing would have completely changed the outcome of this game, but the Notre Dame pitching staff silenced the Cards bats every time they threatened.
Although the series was out of reach, the Louisville pitching staff salvaged the weekend by tossing a gem in the second game of the double header. Carson Liggett (W, 5-0) continues to impress in his sophomore campaign, twirling the first 5 innings, allowing 3 hits, 1 run, and striking out 4 batters on the way to a 2-1 win.
Tate Kuehner (S, 3), who has come on as of late, was stretched out and finished the final 4 innings. Kuehner allowed just 1 hit and kept the Fighting Irish off the board to help preserve the victory.
Knapczyk (2-5), McCoy (2-4, RBI, BB), and Brandon Anderson (2-4, R) combined for 6 of the 8 hits in the win. Knapczyk (7-14, HR, RBI, 2 SB) was on a mission this weekend but the rest of the team chipped in with just 15 combined hits.
Entering the series, Louisville was 32nd in the country, averaging 8.5 runs per game. In the three-game series, they were only able to muster 9 runs against a Notre Dame team with a 4.97 ERA. The Cards left 25 runners on base, stranding the bases loaded on multiple occasions.
It does not get any easier for the Cards as they travel to Cincinnati (11-14) on Tuesday evening to take on the Bearcats before heading to Raleigh for a three-game series with North Carolina State (17-7, 3-6 ACC). The Cards are going to get the best the Wolfpack have to offer as they are in desperate need of conference wins after dropping their first three ACC series.