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Louisville Walked Off by Pitt in ACC Pool Play

The Cardinals are eliminated from advancing to the semifinals of the ACC Baseball Championship.
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W: Baron Stuart (2-4), L: Jared Poland (5-4)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Kicking off their run in the ACC Baseball Championship, Louisville was unable to keep their late season momentum rolling into the Queen City, getting walked off by Pitt 6-5 in pool play Wednesday at Truist Field.

Because the eleventh-seeded Panthers (29-26) had already defeated seventh-seeded Georgia Tech the day before, they clinch Pool B and punch their ticket to the semifinals on Saturday. The second-seeded and No. 7 ranked Cardinals (38-17-1), despite being eliminated from advancing, still have one game left in pool play before heading back home.

Garrett Schmeltz (3.0 IP, 5 K, 4 H, 2 ER) earned the first start of his collegiate career, and looked sharp early on, setting a career-high in strikeouts in just two innings. But in the third, the Panthers caught up to him, striking first with a two-run home run.

Louisville wasn't far behind, scoring four unanswered runs over the next two innings, including a three-spot in the fifth. Dalton Rushing (2-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI) hit a solo homer in the fourth, Ben Metzinger (1-5, RBI) collected an RBI single an inning later, then Rushing followed that up with his second homer of the game - this time plating two runs.

Ryan Hawks (2.0 IP, 2 K, 4 H, 1 ER) was the first reliever out of the bullpen for Louisville, tossing a scoreless fourth before Pitt also hit a home run off of him in the fifth. Levi Usher (1-4, HR, RBI) then immediately countered this with a solo homer of his own in the sixth.

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Pitt certainly wasn't going to go out without a fight, plating three unanswered runs in the late stages. The Panthers responded with a solo homer in the seventh off of Carson Liggitt (1.2 IP, 1 K, 1 H, 1 ER), then worked Tate Kuehner (0.2 IP, 1 K, 1 H) into an eighth inning jam.

Ace pitcher Jared Poland (0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER) relieved Kuehner to make his first relief appearance since early march, minimized damage, but still allowed a sacrifice fly in the eighth to tie the game.

Poland himself was pulled after allowing the leadoff runner in the ninth to reach base, but a walk, grounder and a single given up by Michael Prosecky (0.2 IP, 1 K, 1 BB, 1 H) allowed Pitt to plate the game winning run.

Next up for Louisville, they'll wrap up their run in the ACC Baseball Championship by facing Georgia Tech in pool play. First pitch against the Yellow Jackets is slated for Thursday, May 26 at 11:00 a.m. EST, and will be televised on Bally Sports South and broadcast on 93.9 The Ville.

(Photo of Logan Beard: Jared Anderson - State of Louisville)

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