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Louisville Drops Rubber Match at Virginia Tech

The Cardinals suffer their first losing streak in a month, and fall from atop the Atlantic Division.
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W: Jonah Hurney (5-1), L: Ryan Hawks (5-2), S: Kiernan Higgins (4)

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Capping off their top 10 series at Virginia Tech with a Sunday rubber match, the Louisville baseball program was unable to rebound from their game two loss, with their late inning rally falling short to drop the series finale 5-4 at English Field.

The No. 7 Cardinals (35-15-1, 16-10-1 ACC) are now on their first losing streak since getting swept at Florida State in mid-April, and as a result of the series loss, relinquish their position atop the Atlantic Division to Notre Dame. The No. 5 Hokies (36-11, 16-9 ACC) also jump Louisville in seeding for the ACC Tournament, with the Cardinals now holding the No. 4 seed.

Louisville starter Carson Liggitt (3.2 IP, 2 K, 2 H, 2 ER) retired the first nine batters he saw, but then started to struggle in his second time through the order. He plunked the leadoff batter of the fourth, then immediately surrendered a two-run homer to break the scoreless tie, and was eventually chased out in the frame.

The Cardinals wasted little time responding. In the very next frame, they took advantage of a Hokies pitching change, with Dalton Rushing (2-3, HR, 3 RBI) tying the game on a bases loaded two-run single.

Following a scoreless fifth inning from Ryan Hawks (1.2 IP, 1 K, 3 H, 1 ER), he too would get chased out in favor of Evan Webster (0.1 IP, 1 K, 1 BB, 1 H) after allowing back-to-back one-out singles. Webster allowed an RBI single to break the tie, then was pulled in favor of Alex Galvan (0.2 IP, 1 K, 2 H, 2 ER) with the bases loaded and two outs, who was able to limit the damage in the frame.

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Virginia Tech compounded matters in the late stages, plating a trio of runs in their final two innings at bat. An RBI triple in the seventh knocked Galvan out, then Michael Prosecky (1.2 IP, 1 K, 1 BB, 4 H, 1 ER) gave up an RBI singles in both the seventh and eighth.

But Louisville wasn't going to go down without at least a little bit of a fight, putting up a pair of runs in the eighth inning. Rushing launched a solo home, followed by an RBI single from Levi Usher (2-4, RBI, 2B). Unfortunately, while the Cardinals were able to get two men on base in the ninth, they were unable to plate any runs.

Next up for Louisville, they'll return home and kick off the last week of the regular season with a midweek showdown vs. Eastern Kentucky. First pitch is slated for Tuesday, May 17 at 6:00 p.m. EST, and will be televised on ACC Network Extra and broadcast on 93.9 The Ville.

(Photo of Isaac Humphrey: Jared Anderson - State of Louisville)

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