Dramatic finale, Louisville baseball sweeps Wake Forest

Corey Ray crosses the plate in a 10-1 win over Wake Forest in the first game.
Corey Ray crosses the plate in a 10-1 victory for Louisville over Wake Forest in the first game of a Saturday doubleheader.. He would steal home in the bottom of the ninth inning to give UofL a  come-from-behind 6-5 win in the second game.

This University of Louisville baseball team may have something special going for it this season but don’t expect it to happen without lots of drama. Great pitching, average hitting, the Cardinals will be tested frequently.

A weekend sweep of Wake Forest appeared almost certain for UofL entering the eighth inning with a 4-0 lead. That was before the visiting Demon Deacons into three highly touted UofL relievers for five hits and five runs.

Josh Rogers had held Wake Forest to two hits before departing in the eighth but left without a chance for the win with Jake Sparger, Robert Strader and Nick Burdi discovering why Wake Forest is the best hitting team in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The shocker a three-run home by pinch hitter Kevin Jordan against Burdi, of all people, giving the Deacons their first lead all weekend.

Bottom of the ninth. Uh oh. Sutton Whiting grounds out, looking bleak.

Logan Taylor comes through with a perfect bunt down the third base line, beating the throw, stealing second. Corey Ray is intentionally walked. Brendan McKay singles loading the bases.

Zach Lucas lines out to short stop. Two outs.

A wild pitch gets away from the catcher. Logan dashes home, tying the game, 5-5, and Ray advances to third base.

Next pitch. What’s going on? What’s Ray doing? He’s attempting to steal home, racing the pitch to the plate. It’s  a tie, Ray sliding head first in the plate. He’s out and the game goes into extra innings. But no, the ball popping out of the catcher’s mitt. Ray has stolen home, the game is over, and UofL has won the game.

Quite a contrast from the first game won by Louisville 10-1. Ray’s heroics have clinched still another sweep, the fifth series sweep against Atlantic Coast Competition competition this season. UofL is 19-2 in the ACC and 30-9 overall.

More drama to come. At Cincinnati on Tuesday, home against Western Kentucky University on Wednesday, a three-game series against Bethune-Cookman next weekend. UofL resumes ACC play with a three-game series at Clemson on May 2nd.

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.