LOUISVILLE, Ky. – No. 2 Louisville led 3-0 after two and broke the game open in the seventh as the Cardinals claimed the series over Duke with a 10-0 decision Sunday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Louisville (33-6, 17-4 ACC) scored three in the second and seven in the seventh to provide freshman Nick Bennett (4-0) more than ample run support. Bennett worked a career-high seven innings, allowed four hits, struck out five and did not walk a batter. Reliever Riley Thompson tossed the final two innings to complete the shutout.
“Louisville’s two guys pitched exceptionally well,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “That was as good a start as we’ve had against us all year. Bennett did a good job of throwing his breaking ball in the zone and that made his fastball play up. They’ve got some really good arms.”
Similar to Saturday, Louisville put crooked numbers on the board to stake a second-inning lead. First baseman Brendan McKay beat the shift with a single through the right side, followed by Drew Ellis’ bunt single. With one out, Devin Mann bounded a two-run double down the left field line before Zeke Pinkham drilled a RBI double off the right field wall.
Duke right-hander Ryan Day (3-3) had allowed just three extra base all season prior to the back-to-back second-inning doubles. Day settled in and found a rhythm, retiring 10 straight Cardinals after the Pinkham two-bagger.
A pitcher’s duel ensued following the second as Day and Bennett combined to allow two hits over the next four frames. Josh Stowers’ two-out fifth-inning single was all Day permitted until the seventh. Day covered 6.1 innings and ultimately yielded four runs on six hits.
“Ryan pitched well,” Pollard said. “He gave up the three runs in the second, came out and put a zero on the board in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth.”
In the seventh, a Logan Taylor pinch hit single and hit batter brought Day’s afternoon to a close. Reliever Nick Hendrix got a fly ball for the second out, but six consecutive Cardinals reached base via three walks and three singles to put the game safely out of reach, 10-0.
Junior Max Miller doubled in the fifth while sophomore Zack Kone added a ninth-inning double of his own. Jimmy Herron, Jack Labosky and Griffin Conine each had a hit in the contest.
Duke returns to Jack Coombs Field Wednesday, April 26 for a 6 p.m., non-conference matchup with Presbyterian before traveling for a three-game ACC series at Notre Dame Friday-Sunday, April 28-30.