No. 4 Louisville escapes Wake Forest on walk-off single from Mike White
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Corey Ray connected for a pair of home runs, while Mike White delivered the walk-off RBI single to lift the fourth-ranked Louisville baseball team to a 6-5 series-opening win against Wake Forest on Friday night at Jim Patterson Stadium.
White sent a one-out pitch from Parker Dunshee into left center field to score pinch runner Colin Lyman from second base and clinch the third walk-off win of the season for the Cardinals (28-9, 17-2 ACC). The game-winning chance started with a leadoff single by Brendan McKay. After replacing McKay at first base, Lyman moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Zach Lucas before White's game winner.
White finished with two RBIs and two stolen bases, scored once and walked twice while sharing the spotlight with Ray, who became the first Louisville player to hit two home runs in a game since Lucas did it on March 14, 2014 against Samford. Ray finished the day 2-for-3 overall and walked twice as the Cardinals won for the 17th time in their past 20 outings.
On the mound, righthander Sean Leland struck out three in 1.1 innings of shutout relief to earn the win and improve to 2-0 on the season. In 10 appearances on the mound this season, Leland has a 0.89 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 20.1 innings.
He was preceded by righty Kyle Funkhouser, who finished with a no-decision after allowing five runs on six hits in 7.2 innings. Funkhouser overcame a tough second inning in which he allowed four runs on four walks and two hits, matching his longest outing of the season and retired 13 consecutive hitters during a stretch from the fourth inning to the eighth.
The Cardinals struck first on Friday night when Ray crushed his sixth home run of the season, a two-run shot to right center, to score Nick Solak. Following a one-out single by Solak, Ray sent a 1-0 offering from Wake Forest (22-17, 9-10 ACC) righty Matt Pirro into the trees near the Patterson Stadium scoreboard for the 2-0 lead.
That advantage was short-lived for Louisville as the Demon Deacons answered with a four-run second inning on two hits and four walks from Funkhouser. After a trio of walks loaded the bases, Drew Freedman took the fourth of the inning with two outs to score Will Craig. Following an infield RBI single by Jonathan Pryor to even the score, Joey Rodriguez delivered a two-run double down the left field line for the 4-2 edge.
Louisville cut into the deficit in the bottom of the second inning on an RBI double down the right field line by Will Smith to score White, who walked and stole second earlier in the frame. Wake Forest followed with a run in the top of the third on a sacrifice fly from Stuart Fairchild.
Scoring for the third consecutive inning, the Cardinals pulled even at 5-5 in the bottom of the third with two more runs against Pirro. Ray led off the inning by belting a 1-0 pitch over wall in left center for his seventh homer of the season and his second of the night. Later in the inning, Lucas doubled down the left field line, stole third and scored on an RBI groundout from White.
Dunshee took the loss for the Demon Deacons and dropped to 5-1 overall after allowing one run on two hits in 1.1 innings of relief. Pirro finished with a no-decision after giving up five runs on five hits in three innings.