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Louisville Defeats Virginia in Regular Season Finale to Clinch Series

The Cardinals also clinch a premium pool seed in the ACC Baseball Championship with the series win.
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W: Carson Liggitt (2-0), L: Jake Berry (5-3)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Taking the field for the final time of the regular season, the Louisville baseball program was able to redeem themselves after getting blasted by Virginia the day before, taking the series rubber match 11-3 Saturday at Jim Patterson Stadium to clinch the top-10 series.

With the win, the No. 7 Cardinals (38-16-1, 18-11-1 ACC) clinch either the No. 2 or No. 4 seed next week's ACC Baseball Championship, both of which are top seeds in whichever pool they are assigned. They also have a chance to clinch the Atlantic Division should Notre Dame drop their series finale at Miami.

Louisville's offense got off to a fast start, plating six runs in the first two innings including a four-spot in the second. Levi Usher (1-5, 2 RBI) got the scoring started in the opening frame, collecting a two-run single. An inning later, Ben Bianco (2-3, RBI, BB) struck an RBI single, then Ben Metzinger (3-5, HR, 3 RBI, 2B) and Jack Payton (2-4, HR, RBI. BB) launched two-run and solo home runs, respectively.

They were able to muster up plenty of insurance runs down the stretch, too. Noah Smith (1-4, RBI, SF) tallied a sacrifice fly in the fifth, and Isaac Humphrey (3-4, HR, RBI, 2B) notched a solo home run in the seventh. The cherry on top was a three-spot in the eighth, courtesy of an RBI double from Metzinger and two-run homer from Dalton Rushing (2-4, HR, 2 RBI, BB)

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The Cardinals also got a stellar performance from the mound. Carson Liggitt (2.0 IP, 1 BB, 1 H) looked solid in his second consecutive start, and Tate Kuehner (4.1 IP, 5 K, 2 BB, 4 H, 2 ER) tossed his longest relief outing of the season. He had tossed four scoreless before giving up a pair of earned runs in the seventh.

Ryan Hawks (1.2 IP, 3 K, 3 H, 1 ER) came in after Kuehner, and was able to limit the damage in the frame, but did allow a solo homer in the eighth. Michael Prosecky (1.0 IP) got the ball in the ninth, and was able to shut the door on the Cavaliers to clinch the game and series win.

Next up for Louisville, they'll head down to Charlotte, N.C. for the ACC Baseball Championship. Pool assignment, along with date and television designation, will be announced later this evening.

(Photo of Levi Usher: Jared Anderson - State of Louisville)

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