LOUISVILLE, Ky – Sophomore outfielder Corey Ray hit two tape-measure home runs and senior designated hitter Mike White knocked in the game winning run, as the Louisville Cardinals (28-9, 17-2 ACC) defeated the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (22-17, 9-10 ACC) in walk-off fashion 6-5 Friday night at Jim Patterson Stadium to win the first game of a three game series.
It was the first time a Cardinal hit two home runs in a game since Zach Lucas crushed two against Samford on March 14, 2014.
In the bottom of the ninth inning with the game locked at 5-5, freshman Brendan McKay led off with a single to right field.
Head coach Dan McDonnell then sent sophomore Colin Lyman in to pinch run for McKay.
After Lucas advanced Lyman to second on a sacrifice bunt, the stage was set for senior Mike White – who has been clutch all year – to win the game, and that’s just what he did, by smoking a line drive to left center and sending Lyman around the pads to score.
Chaos ensued as the entire Cardinal bench exploded out of the dugout, and raced across the field to pounce on White as he stood between second and third waiting with arms up to embrace the gang tackle.
White finished the day 1-for-3 with two RBI and two stolen bases.
The Cardinals were absolutely relentless on the base paths, stealing seven bases that kept the Deacons’ pitchers worrying about the runners all day. The last time the Cardinals stole seven bases in a game was against Rutgers on March 22, 2014.
Kyle Funkhouser (5-2) was the starting Cardinal pitcher, and after giving up five earned runs early — four in the second and one in the fifth — he managed to stay in the game and battle, until he was removed in the eighth inning when freshman Butch Baird got the call from the bullpen.
Funk finished with four strike outs, allowing six hits, and four walks.
The seventh inning saw one of the strangest series of events I can remember.
Lucas led off the Cards half of the inning with a walk, then on a 2-0 count to the next batter White, Deacon freshman RHP Donnie Sellers came in to pitch for sophomore lefty Max Tishman.
Sellers then immediately picked off Lucas at first. White was then walked by Sellers. After sophomore Will Smith flied out, White then stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by freshman catcher Nick Bisplinghoff.
The next batter, freshman Ryan Summers was hit by a pitch (2-2), and then stole second. Finally freshman Devin Hairston struck out the following at bat ending the bizarre frame.
A frame which included, two walks, two stolen bases, an error, an HBP, a pickoff play, a fly out, a strikeout, and a pitching change.
Freshman RHP Sean Leland (2-0) got credit for the win with three strike outs and one walk in 1.1 innings pitched.
The loss was charged to sophomore RHP Parker Dunshee (5-1)
Ray went 2-for-3 with three RBI, and two home runs, along with one stolen base.
Smith was 1-for-3 on the day with an RBI.