For the third consecutive day, Duke (27-12, 12-8 ACC) used a late inning rally to upset the No. 12 ranked Cardinals at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Louisville (26-13, 8-10 ACC) has now lost four games in a row and 6 of their last 7. They are 2-4 in ACC series on the year.
After suffering devastating walk-off losses on Friday and Saturday, Carson Liggett (6.1 IP, 4 H, ER, 7 K, 2 BB) battled yet again, giving the Cardinals a chance to salvage the series and return home on the right foot. When Liggett’s day was done, Louisville was ahead 2-1.
E3 | @carsonliggett fans a pair in the third.— Louisville Baseball (@LouisvilleBSB) April 23, 2023
Liggett is 7-0 on the season with a 1.64 ERA.
Freshman Kayden Campbell (.2 IP, K) came in and finished the 7th inning unscathed. Outside of two appearances against Georgia Tech and NC State, the freshman has held his own this season. He has now tossed 7 consecutive outings without allowing a run.
In the top of the 8th inning, Louisville would tack on an insurance run due to a wild sequence of events. Will Cook led-off the inning with a single, who was replaced by Tyeler Hawkins as a pinch runner. Hawkins would steal second and advance to third on an error. He would then score on a wild pitch, giving the Cards a 3-1 lead.
Then, the never-ending bottom of the 8th inning occurred. Louisville sent three pitchers to the mound, walked two batters, and hit another, in a theme we saw for much of the weekend.
After walking two batters and giving up a RBI single, Alex Galvan was pulled before he could record an out.
Greg Farone took over on the mound, throwing two pitches before his day was done. His first pitch was a HBP to load the bases, followed by a single, which scored two runs and gave Duke a 4-3 lead.
Coach McDonnell decided to toss the ball to freshman Patrick Forbes, who sat the Blue Devils down to limit the scoring, but the damage was done.
Ryan McCoy (2-4, R, BB), who did everything in his power to keep Louisville in the series, singled in the 9th, but Jack Payton and Brandon Anderson recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the game. Duke won 4-3.
Payton (1-4, RBI, BB) and Gavin Kilen, who did not start in the three previous games, returned to the lineup on Sunday. Christian Knapczyk, after suffering a shoulder injury last weekend, has missed four straight games.
T4 | Welcome back, @2jackpayton. Trades places with @Rymccoy7 and we're tied.— Louisville Baseball (@LouisvilleBSB) April 23, 2023
The Louisville offense had plenty of opportunities on Sunday to extend their lead, stranding 11 runners for the game. The bullpen blew the late lead, but if the offense had taken care of business earlier in the game, they would not have been in the situation for Duke to get back into it. Both sides of the ball have a lot to clean up as we head down the home stretch.
Louisville currently sits at 32 in both RPI and SOS, and the schedule is about to get very challenging. The Cards head to Lexington on Tuesday and host Miami for three games starting Thursday night. Kentucky lost their second straight SEC series over the weekend while the Hurricanes took two games from Georgia Tech.
The magic number is 15. Historically, if you win 15 ACC games, you should feel comfortable about earning a NCAA Tournament berth. With 12 games to go, Louisville would have to go 7-5 to get to 15 wins. Here is the remaining conference slate:
— 3 vs Miami
— 3 @ Clemson
— 3 @ Virginia
— 3 vs FSU
The opportunity for big time wins is staring Louisville straight in the eyes — can they rebound and get back on track? We will soon find out.