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Louisville denies Boston College comeback bid, wins series opener 6-4

Ryan Hawks was in cruise control en route to his 5th win of the season

Photo by University of Louisville Athletics (@LouisvilleBSB)

Ryan Hawks (W, 5-1) was sensational Thursday evening, keeping the Boston College (21-7, 8-5 ACC) bats quiet for the majority of his 8 innings. The Eagles entered the game as the No. 9 team in the country, according to D1 Baseball, their highest ranking in school history, but Hawks was up to the challenge.

Boston College got on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning, but Hawks would keep them scoreless for the next seven frames. He ended up throwing 8 innings, allowing 4 hits, 2 walks, compiled 8 strikeouts, and surrendered 1 earned run.

When the team needed him the most, Hawks put the team on his back as the Cards improved to 22-7, 5-5 in ACC play.

As his pitch count increased to 106, Dan McDonnell and Roger Williams made the decision to toss the ball to Tate Kuehner to get the final three outs. With a 6-1 lead against the No. 9 team in the country, you want to put your best on the mound to preserve the victory.

Three hits and a walk later, Kuehner could not settle in as the Eagles found themselves with the tying run on first base, trailing 6-4. On Tuesday night, Boston College trailed Massachusetts by 8 runs after two innings and battled back to win the game 13-12 so this is not unfamiliar territory for them.

Fortunately for the Cards, Kuehner induced a weak ground ball that trickled down the first base line. Jack Payton was able to corral the grounder and throw the runner out at first for the final out. Exhale.

On the offensive side of the ball, we saw a new-look lineup, one that is very young, but who I think has the best opportunity for this team as the season progresses. Will Cook (1-3, RBI) and Brandon Anderson (2-4, R, SB) both entered the game batting .385 in limited plate appearances this season, but they both have a ton of upside. They started at 1B and DH, respectively.

The outfield consisted of Patrick Forbes (2-3), Eddie King Jr. (2-4, 2 RBI, R, SB), and JT Benson (1-3, 3 R) who all contributed in a major way and can cover a lot of ground defensively with a plenty of athleticism at each position.

Along with Anderson, Forbes, and King Jr., Logan Beard also chipped in with two hits, including a double, the only extra base hit for the Cards who amassed 13 for the game.

One thing that was very encouraging on Thursday evening was the timely hitting that has been missing at times this season. In the bottom of the 4th, clinging on to a 2-1 lead, Knapczyk lined a ball up the middle with two strikes, scoring two runs. This game could have ended very differently without this clutch at bat.

Louisville will go for the series win tomorrow evening with the first pitched scheduled for 6:00 PM. The game will be on ACCNX and 93.9 The Ville/970 WGTK. Greg Farone (1-2, 4.50 ERA) will face Chris Flynn (6-1, 1.76 ERA). The Cards will have their hands full with Flynn, who has been the most consistent arm for the Eagles this season. He has compiled 53 strikeouts in 41 innings.