Junior Devin Hairston had three hits and drove in four runs, including a game-clinching two-run double in the eighth inning, as the No. 2 Louisville baseball team closed out a series victory against No. 17 Wake Forest with Sunday afternoon’s 7-5 win in the weekend finale at Jim Patterson Stadium.
After the Demon Deacons (23-10, 9-6 ACC) had tied the score at 5-5 in the top of the eighth, Hairston sent a 0-1 offering from Griffin Roberts into left center in the bottom of the inning to plate seniors Ryan Summers and Logan Taylor and push the Cardinals (27-4, 12-3 ACC) ahead for good. The eighth double of the season capped a 3-for-5 day at the plate for Hairston, who leads Louisville with 36 RBI overall and 10 multi-RBI games this season.
Sunday’s victory clinched Louisville’s 31st consecutive regular season series win at home, including the 13th straight in as many chances against ACC foes. The Cardinals improved to 20-1 at Jim Patterson Stadium this season and have won 53 of their last 55 regular season games at the corner of Third and Central.
Louisville also received offensive contributions from junior Drew Ellis, who was 2-for-5 with a double, one RBI and a run scored, and Taylor, who scored three runs in the game. On the mound, sophomore lefthander Adam Wolf registered the win and moved to 3-0 on the season, while sophomore righty Sam Bordner had two strikeouts in a perfect ninth inning for his first save. Freshman lefty Nick Bennett delivered another quality start for the Cardinals allowing just two runs on six hits with six strikeouts in 6.1 innings.
The Demon Deacons struck first Sunday plating a run in the second inning on a RBI single to left from Bruce Steel to score Ben Breazeale. The Cardinals evened the score at 1-1 in the third inning on a two-out RBI single to left by Ellis to send Taylor home.
Louisville gained its first lead of the day with a four-run sixth inning against Wake Forest starter Connor Johnstone. Ellis led off the inning with a double down the left field line and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from senior Colin Lyman before scoring on a passed ball. The Cardinals added three more runs with a two-out rally, which started with a single to left by sophomore Devin Mann. A single by sophomore Zeke Pinkham and a walk to Taylor loaded the bases before a wild pitch on a third strike to junior Colby Fitch allowed Mann to score from third. Hairston followed with a two-run single to left to score Pinkham and Taylor for the 5-1 lead.
Wake Forest cut the margin in half in the seventh inning when Bruce Steel connected on a two-run homer to left. Johnny Aiello singled to left center off Bennett before sophomore righty Riley Thompson surrendered the blast to Steel, his eighth home run of the season. The Demon Deacons pulled even with the Cardinals with two more runs in the top of the eighth on a RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of Aiello and a RBI sacrifice fly to right by Steel.
Louisville started its decisive eighth inning with a leadoff walk to Pinkham, who was replaced on the bases by Summers. After Taylor was hit by a pitch from Roberts, junior Colby Fitch delivered a sacrifice bunt to advance Summers to third and Taylor to second with one out. That set the stage for Hairston, who drove in each of the Cardinals’ final four runs on Sunday.
Up next, No. 2 Louisville concludes its five-game homestand at Jim Patterson Stadium with a visit from Big Ten foe Purdue on Tuesday at 6 p.m., ET.
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