While the start of the season began three weeks ago at the Opening Weekend Challenge in Clearwater, Fla., the University of Louisville began its ACC season on Saturday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium. The 11th-ranked Cardinals welcomed No.10 Miami to the snow free ballpark for a doubleheader to begin ACC play for both programs.
Louisville had strong offensive performances from a number of players to lead the Cardinals to a 9-6 comeback victory over the Hurricanes in the program's first ever ACC contest.
After grabbing an early 2-0 lead, U of L found itself trailing 6-3 as they came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh. A string of three consecutive singles by Devin Hairston, Ryan Summers and Sutton Whiting set up a six run frame for the Cardinals. With the bases loaded, Nick Solak connected for a standup double to plate two. Following a Brendan McKay walk with two outs that loaded the bases for a second time in the inning, a throwing error allowed Will Smith to reach and two more to score, giving U of L a 7-6 advantage. Another Miami error allowed Danny Rosenbaum to reach first safely and an additional pair of Cardinals across the plate.
Drew Harrington struck out four and gave up just one hit over the final two innings to secure the Cardinals victory and record his second save of the season. Freshman Butch Baird picked up his first career win.
Sutton Whiting was perfect at the plate in four at bats, driving in a run and scoring twice. The senior upped his team leading average to .438 after 14 games. Nick Solak, Will Smith and Ryan Summers each enjoyed two-hit days.
Kyle Funkhouser had his roughest outing of the young season. Making his fourth start, the junior gave up five runs on eight hits and walked four in 5.1 innings of work.
The Cardinals needed a rally in the second game of the afternoon, but it came up short as Miami claimed a 9-5 victory to split the first two games of the three-game series.
Starting pitcher Anthony Kidston struggled with his control from the beginning. The junior tossed 90 pitches in only four innings, giving up seven runs on nine hits, while also having three wild pitches.
Miami used a 5 run fourth inning to help build a 8-0 lead with after five. The Cardinals attempt to rally from behind for a second consecutive game begin on a double by Blake Tiberi in the bottom of the inning. Tiberi would score on a throwing error that allowed Hairston to reach. The Cardinals rally continued in the next inning when four would cross the plate. Zach Lucas drove in three on a home run over the left field wall and Hairston added an RBI to pull the hosts with 8-5.
Louisville was able to load the bases in the eighth inning, but a double play ended the Cardinals threat and the rally.
Kade McClure made his fourth appearance of the season, giving up two runs in five innings.
Louisville and Miami will meet in the final game of the series on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. and admission is free. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.com.