DURHAM, N.C. – Seven combined runs in the sixth and seventh innings for No. 13 Louisville created a rally that resulted in an 8-6 win for the Cardinals against No. 24 Duke on Sunday afternoon inside Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The Blue Devils fell behind 1-0 in the first, but led 4-1 going to the sixth before Louisville rallied for an 8-4 advantage.
Duke trailed by four entering the ninth but was able to bring the tying run to the plate after a two-out, two-run pinch hit single from freshman Matt Stinebiser. Louisville pitcher Bobby Miller closed the game with a lineout to left field.
The Cardinals (16-4, 5-1 ACC) handed the Blue Devils (12-8, 2-4 ACC) their first ACC series sweep in nearly three years, since March 18-20, 2016, against No. 10 North Carolina.
Louisville’s Shay Smiddy (1-0) earned the win in relief of Bryan Hoeing and Adam Elliott. The starter Hoeing lasted two innings, yielding four runs, one earned, on three hits, four walks and two hit batters. He also had one strikeout. Elliott covered the next 3.2 frames, limiting Duke to one hit and fanning a trio. Smiddy spanned 1.1 innings, allowing one hit and a walk with three whiffs. Michael Kirian went the next 1.1, giving up a hit and fanning a pair. Miller recorded the final two outs, allowing two runs on three hits with one strikeout.
On the mound for Duke, junior Bill Chillari went six, allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits and three walks with one strikeout. Graduate student Ben Gross (2-1) took the loss, facing three batters and yielding three runs on two hits and a walk. Freshman Kyle Salley walked the lone batter he faced before giving way to classmate Cooper Stinson, who recorded three outs and surrendered a hit and walk to go along with one strikeout. Sophomore Thomas Girard pitched the eighth and ninth, striking out two and giving up one hit.
For the third time in as many games, Louisville scored in the first inning as it took a 1-0 advantage. Jake Snider led off with a double and advanced to third with one out as Chillari attempted a pickoff, but the throw sailed into center field. A groundout from Logan Wyatt plated Snider.
Duke took its first lead of the weekend with three runs in the bottom of the frame to go up 3-1. With one out, Taylor was hit by a pitch. A fielding error allowed sophomore Michael Rothenberg to reach first and move Taylor to second. Taylor scooted to third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch to knot the score at 1-1. With two outs and runners on first and second after a walk to freshman Rudy Maxwell and fly out, Duke broke through with a pair of clutch singles. Nichols delivered a ball to right center to drive in Rothenberg and Cheek followed with a base knock through the right side that scored Maxwell. A fly out to the warning track in right field closed the frame.
The Blue Devils added another run in the bottom of the third with small ball to make it a 4-1 contest. Cheek started the inning with a walk, stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a groundout to second base from sophomore Chris Crabtree.
After Chillari had retired nine consecutive Cardinals, Louisville broke loose and scored three runs with two outs in the top of the sixth to knot the game at 4-4. With two down, Henry Davis hit a solo home run to left field. Drew Campbell followed with a double down the right-field line and Jared Poland tied the game with a two-run home run to left.
Louisville regained the lead with four runs in the top of the seventh for an 8-4 cushion. Zach Britton led off with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Trey Leonard at first base. Leonard stole second and moved to third when catcher Maxwell’s throw hopped into center field. Leonard scored a few pitches later on a passed ball for a 5-4 lead. With no outs and nobody on, Snider walked, Tyler Fitzgerald singled to center and Wyatt drew a free pass to load the bases. Danny Oriente grounded out to drive in Snider to make it a 6-4 Cardinal advantage. Davis followed and capped the scoring with a two-run single to left.
Duke went quietly in the eighth before mounting a rally that came up just short in the ninth. With one out, Nichols singled through the left side and Cheek doubled to put runners on second and third. After a strikeout, Stinebiser dribbled a ball through the middle that plated Nichols and Cheek. A Crabtree lineout to left ended the contest.
The Blue Devils continue their eight-game home stand Wednesday at 4 p.m. against Campbell.
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