Louisville leaves Georgia Tech, starts ACC game 1-0

By MattSefcovic on March 17, 2023 10:48 PM

After 5 innings, Louisville (16-1, 1-0 ACC) was on cruise control in its ACC opener against Georgia Tech (13-5, 2-2 ACC). Ryan Hawks (5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 7 K) was recording another impressive outing for the Cardinals ace, then the Yellow Jackets bats awoke.

Facing a 5-0 deficit, Georgia Tech went into the 6th inning with five straight singles, including one that was misplayed by Haven Mangrum in left field, allowing three runs to score.

They would eventually score 6 runs in the inning to claim their first lead of the night, followed by an insurance run in the 7th, increasing the lead to 7-5. Luckily for Louisville fans, that would wrap up the Yellow Jackets score.

In the 7th inning half, Mangrum hit a grounder at first base, scoring Ryan McCoy (1-1, HR, 4 BB, 3 R) who walked earlier, to draw Louisville in a run.

Fast forward down the 8th, the Cards loaded the bases with one out and the heart of their lineup at home plate. Patrick Forbes (1-4, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 3G) tied on balls to tie the game at 7 points apiece. Louisville had the opportunity to blow up the game, but Isaac Humphrey and Brandon Anderson hit on six straight pitches to end the threat.

Riley Phillips and Tate Kuehner (W, 1-0) kept the Yellow Jackets off the board in the top of the 9th, giving the offense the opportunity for a knockout victory, the first since April 10, 2022 against Carolina North.

With two out and the batter nine holes at home plate, Logan Beard would walk and advance to second on a wild pitch, followed by another walk to Christian Knapczyk.

Then the All-American got to work. With the game in play, Jack Payton (3-6, RBI, R) fielded a fly ball into center field, tagging Beard for the game winner. Louisville completes the comeback, 8-7.

Forbes set the tone early in the game with a third-inning slug-loaded triple to give the Cards a 3-0 lead. It’s not often you see a freshman hitter in a Dan McDonnell offense, but Forbes continues to get better and better as he shows a lot of maturity for his age.

After hitting 4 home runs in his first 7 games, Ryan McCoy hadn’t homered one in the last 9 games, but his power was in the spotlight on Friday night. McCoy hooked a ball just inside the right field foul post for his 5th homer of the season.

Although the Hawks didn’t have their best thing Friday night, Will Koger, Phillips and Kuehner combined for 4 innings of one baseball run against a very impressive offense that ranks in the top 15 in the nation in runs marked.

Seeing the bullpen pick up the Hawks on a night off was very encouraging as this team has found another way to win a baseball game. These moments will play huge dividends at the end of the season. The Louisville pitchers haven’t walked a single batter.

Louisville will go for the series win tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. Greg Farone (1-0, 2.12 ERA) will get the ball for the Cards, but Georgia Tech has yet to announce its starter. The match will be televised on ACC Network Extra and 93.9 The Ville/970 WGTK.

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