Late home runs power Louisville to series victory against Florida State
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Powered by a pair of late-inning home runs from Nick Solak and Will Smith, Louisville overcame a five-run deficit for a 6-5 series-clinching win against Florida State on Sunday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium.
With the two runners on base and the Cardinals (40-12, 23-4 ACC) trailing 5-2 in the seventh inning, Solak hammered a 2-1 offering from Seminoles (37-16, 17-10 ACC) reliever Cobi Johnson for his second home run of the season.
After Solak pulled Louisville even, Smith pushed them ahead for good an inning later, connecting on a 1-1 pitch from Alec Byrd and sending it over the wall in left center for his first career home run.
From there, sophomore righthander Zack Burdi, who entered the game an inning earlier for a scoreless eighth, worked through the top of the Florida State lineup in the ninth inning to earn the win and improve to 4-0 on the season. The Senior Day victory clinched Louisville's ninth consecutive ACC series victory and their 11th consecutive series win overall.
Solak finished the afternoon 2-for-4 at the plate and scored twice as the Cardinals finished with a 9-4 edge in hits against the Seminoles. Freshman Blake Tiberi was 2-for-4 with a run driven in, while senior Zach Lucas added a single, an RBI and scored once.
The Seminoles struck for their first runs of the game in the first inning on a two-out, two-run single from Darren Miller to plate John Sansone and Quincy Nieporte. After a walk to Sansone and a single by Nieporte, both players advanced on a balk by Louisville sophomore lefty Josh Rogers before scoring on the single from Miller.
Florida State extended the lead to 5-0 in the sixth inning with a trio of runs after loading the bases with no outs. Nieporte led off with a double down the line and was followed by a walk to Chris Marconsini and an infield single from Miller.
Ben DeLuzio drove in Nieporte with an RBI groundout off Louisville freshman righty Sean Leland for the first run of the inning. Taylor Walls added an RBI sacrifice fly to right to send Marconsini home before a wild pitch sent Miller home for the final run of the inning.
The Cardinals started their comeback in the bottom of the sixth inning on a pair of two-out RBI singles from Lucas and Tiberi. After leading off the inning by reaching base and advancing to second on a throwing error by Walls at shortstop, Solak was driven home on a single into left by Lucas off FSU reliever Bryant Holtmann.
Moments later, after Lucas had moved to second on a throwing error by the Seminoles, Tiberi singled through the right side of the infield to score Lucas and cut the deficit to 5-2.
Louisville's pivotal seventh inning at the plate started with a one-out walk by freshman Devin Hairston on a 3-2 pitch from Johnson. Senior Sutton Whiting followed by reaching base when he was hit by a 3-2 offering from Johnson setting the stage for Solak, who connected for his second game-tying home run in a series-deciding game in a span of seven days.
Byrd was charged with the loss and dropped to 5-1 on the season after allowing the game-winning run and one hit in 1.1 innings of relief. For the Cardinals, Rogers earned a no-decision after allowing four runs on just three this with seven strikeouts and five walks in 5.0+ innings.