In need of a big time ACC series win, Louisville (24-7, 7-5 ACC) responded in stellar fashion after losing two consecutive series on the road against Notre Dame and North Carolina State, sweeping No. 9 Boston College at Jim Patterson Stadium this weekend. If you missed the action from Thursday night, you can catch up here.
With the 6-4 win on Thursday, The Cards needed to win just one of the following two games to claim the series. Friday night was not very promising out of the gate, as the Eagles took an 8-0 lead after the top of the second inning.
Greg Farone (1 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 1 K) struggled finding the zone, walking at least four batters in each of his previous three outings.
Tucker Biven (2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, BB), one of the more consistent bullpen arms for Louisville this season, also did not have his best stuff on Friday evening, tossing the second and third innings. I am confident that these two will bounce back, but curious to see how long the leash is for Farone, as his ERA increased to 5.52 after this weekend.
Kayden Campbell (IP, K), Riley Phillips (W, 4-0, 4 IP, H, 5 K), and Tate Kuehner (S, 4, IP, K) combined to throw the final 6 innings, allowing just a single hit and zero runs. You obviously have to tip your hat to the offense for battling back with 9 unanswered runs to secure the 9-8 victory, but these three deserve all the credit in the world. With their backs up against a wall, they delivered for 6 consecutive innings.
Christian Knapczyk (3-5, 2 RBI) led the way at the plate with 3 hits, while Jack Payton (1-3, HR, RBI, 2 BB) and Eddie King Jr. (1-3, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R) each made a visit to the berm to ignite the offense.
B2 | See ya. One swing, two runs.— Louisville Baseball (@LouisvilleBSB) April 7, 2023
https://t.co/HQZEtShK2V#GoCards | @EddieKingJr17 pic.twitter.com/mhw4NOZFkk
Here is a look at Payton’s 8th blast of the season:
B3 | Keep 'em coming. @2jackpayton to the berm.— Louisville Baseball (@LouisvilleBSB) April 7, 2023
Not only did the Cards record their largest comeback since 2019, they did so while wearing some of the most beautiful baseball uniforms you will ever see. These are glorious.
They’re beautiful. #GoCards pic.twitter.com/fSv6HwHFCu— Louisville Baseball (@LouisvilleBSB) April 7, 2023
With the series already in the bag, Louisville was facing a massive opportunity to sweep one of the hottest teams in the country. And they did just that.
Carson Liggett (7 IP, 5 H, 0R, 6 K, BB) did Carson Liggett things on his way to his 7th victory of the season. He is now 7-0 (10-0 for his career) on the season, with a 1.47 ERA, 41 K, 12 BB, in 43 innings of work. He is putting up video game like numbers so far this season.
Getting some glove work like this behind you helps a little too.
M5 | OH MY‼️ This is absolutely DISGUSTING.@GavinKilen @Cknap1— Louisville Baseball (@LouisvilleBSB) April 8, 2023
https://t.co/g8HGr4iekU#GoCards | #SCTop10 pic.twitter.com/EaplaIp2LC
Liggett trails only Rhett Lowder, a projected top 20 pick in this years MLB Draft from Wake Forest, in ERA this season in the ACC. Lowder is currently slightly behind at 1.40.
In both dugouts, the bats were not near as lively on Saturday, combing for 15 hits and 6 runs on the afternoon.
Patrick Forbes (2-3, R, BB) and JT Benson (2-3, BB) both posted multi-hit games while Ryan McCoy, who did not start on Thursday and Friday, blasted his 7th home run of the season to get the scoring started in the home-half of the 4th inning.
For the second time in the series, Boston College made it interesting in the 9th inning, scoring both of their runs in the top of the final frame, forcing Dan McDonnell to pull Forbes after he was unable to get an out. Evan Webster (S, 2) came in to save the day, but not before it got interesting.
With the bases full of Eagles and two outs, Webster was able to get a fly ball to complete the sweep, 4-2. This is something the bullpen has to clean up as the schedule continues to get more challenging. They were very fortunate this weekend, but that wasn’t the case against North Carolina State when the bullpen allowed 3 runs in the 9th inning, losing the game by one run. This can be the difference in a good and great season.
So, what’s ahead this week?
Kentucky. Enough said.
The Wildcats (27-5, 9-3 SEC) are having one of their best seasons in the history of the program, but just lost their first SEC series against Georgia. They lost both games of a double header in Athens on Sunday, but have taken care of business against the rest of the conference.
Sure, they haven’t played Vanderbilt, Florida, Tennessee, or South Carolina, yet, but they have looked much different than years past. Kentucky is currently ranked No. 1 in the country in RPI, so the Cards have a huge opportunity Tuesday night at Jim Patterson Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 PM. The game will be played on the ACC Network.
After hosting their in-state rival, Louisville welcomes Wake Forest (28-4, 12-2 ACC), who is ranked No. 2 in many of the major polls. The Demon Deacons have put on a clinic this season, they can score in a hurry and have one of the best pitching staffs in the country.