By Derek DeBurger

For the first time in a full calendar year, Louisville baseball has had a great week in the ACC.

The Battle of the Bluegrass is on pause

They were scheduled to meet heated rival No. 17 Kentucky Wildcats, but the inclement weather conditions caused the game to be moved from Tuesday to Wednesday before ultimately being indefinitely postponed. The two teams are attempting to play the game at some point this season, but no official statement has been made.

Packed the bases for the Wolfpack

With a fresh bullpen, the Cards faced the No. 19 NC State Wolfpack over the weekend series. In a must-win series to regain confidence, the Cards played Thursday’s game about as well as you can. Louisville jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first two innings, including a solo home run from Logan Beard and a two-RBI triple from Zion Rose. Louisville gave up a solo home run to the Wolfpack in the fourth inning, but it would mark the only mistake starter Sebastian Gongora made all day.

After going four consecutive innings without scoring a run, a five-run seventh inning quickly ended the game. Dylan Hoy was the hero with a walk-off, two-RBI double to run-rule NC State in the seventh.

Louisville takes game one, 11-1.

Not only did the Cards force a run-rule, but Gongora was the only pitcher to see the mound for the Cards. Gongora technically had the first complete game for the Cards this season. Every other bullpen member was saved for the rest of this series.

Louisville once again got out to a strong start in Friday’s game, scoring five runs between the second and third innings. Perhaps the most impressive run scored in that stretch was Eddie King Jr. stealing home on a wild pitch. After the third, Louisville held a 5-1 lead. The top of the fourth inning, however, proved a nightmare for the Cards. Louisville gave up five runs in the fourth, four of which were unearned.

Louisville suddenly found themselves down and in need of a comeback, but they didn’t have to wait long. In the bottom of the fourth Hoy hit a double to bring the tying run home, and later scored the go-ahead run off of a single from King Jr. The final five-and-a-half innings would remain scoreless as the Cards continued to grit their way to a 7-6 win. Tucker Biven gets credited for his second save of the season.

After falling behind 0-1 in the first inning on Sunday, Louisville scored seven runs through the second, third, and fourth innings to take a 7-1 lead. NC State responded with five runs through the next three innings to cut the lead down to one by the seventh inning. Louisville scratched and clawed to hold the Wolfpack scoreless for the final two innings, giving Biven his third save of the season.

Louisville would win a 7-6 nail-bitter.

Louisville swept the series 3-0.

Slowly gaining confidence

The Cards haven’t won—or swept—a series since Apr. 8, 2023, when they handled then-ninth-ranked Boston College. Louisville has remained competitive yet unsuccessful in the ACC in the year since, including the three dropped series’ this season. With not only a series win but a resounding series sweep, the Cards are now out from under the shadow that had been looming over them.

Louisville was very patient with their bats. NC State threw a combined 17 walks, seven hit batters, and allowed three home plate steals off of wild pitches. Instead of slugging at every opportunity, the Cards waited for the Wolfpack to make mistakes and then capitalized on them in a major way. In fielding a good offensive team that lacks significant power this season, patience might just be the key moving forward for this team. It plays to the Cards’ strengths and levels the playing field by drawing out at-bats with opposing pitchers.

Louisville’s remaining schedule might be daunting, but for now, the Cards advance to 20-11 on the season and back up to 6-6 in the ACC.

Photo Courtesy // Louisville Baseball