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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Connell, Leonard combine for two hitter against Cats


 GAME REPORT - UofL 2 - UK 1

-Fowler's two RBI's lead Cards in nail-biter against UK.

-Shoni Schimmel, Bria Smith receive awards

-Lacrosse hosts Loyola, MD Thursday

The University of Louisville softball team survived a 90 minute rain delay and scary seventh inning against the University of Kentucky softball team Wednesday night to win 2-1 before 1294 fans at Ulmer Stadium. 

The largest crowd to ever watch softball at UofL got to see an exciting contest tonight -- a game that was in doubt until the final batter of the seventh inning. With the bases full, two out and the Cards clinging to a one run advantage...Caralisa Connell got UK pinch hitter Emily Jolly to fly out to left fielder Jennifer Esteban to give the Cards their 30th. win of the season.

After a 90 minute rain delay postponed the start of the in-state rivalry, the Cards took the field around 7:30 p.m. Sophomore Caralisa Connell started in the pitching circle for Louisville and rewarded those who waited around by retiring the Cats in order in the top of the first. 

Louisville struck early against UK starting pitcher Rachel Riley. With two outs in the bottom of the first, Katie Keller singled up the middle and scored on a Taner Fowler double that landed at the left center field fence. Alicja Wolny followed with a walk, giving Jordan Trimble two runners to plate...but Riley ended the inning by tossing a called third strike to the Manual High School star. 1-0 Cards after one.

Connell remained perfect in the second. After giving up a walk to Riley, Ginny Carroll lined a shot to second baseman Keller who completed the double play. Connell got O'Brien to pop up to end the visiting half of the second.

Louisville threatened in the bottom of the second when Maggie Ruckenbrod laced a one-out single to center. After a Whitney Arion fielder's choice retired Ruckenbrod, Jennifer Esteban singled to give Louisville runners at first and second. Kristin Austin took a called third strike next to get Riley out of the jam. 

UK went down in order in the top of the third to Connell. The Cards responded with a lead-off double from Keller and Fowler's second double of the game, a drive to center...plated Keller for the second time to make it 2-0. Louisville could do no more damage, Wolny, Trimble and Kayla Soles all grounded out to the left side of the infield. 2-0 Cards after three innings. 

The wind had picked up at Ulmer as the fourth inning began, blowing straight in from left center and dropping the temperature into the mid-sixties. Caralisa Connell gave up a bad-hop single to Kara Dill to begin the fourth and Griffin Joiner beat out an infield tapper to give UK runners at first and second. Katie Keller helped get Connell out of the jam by snaring a Brittany Cervantes line drive and stepping on second to complete a double play. Connell got Riley to ground out to short to preserve the shut-out.

Chandra Bell took the pitching circle to face the Cards in the bottom of the fourth. After retiring Ruckenbrod and Arion, Esteban and Austin touched Bell for singles...but the Cards left two on base when Keller popped out to second. 

UK went down 1-2-3 in the top of the fifth. Louisville threatened again in the home half of the fifth when Jordan Trimble lined a Bell pitch down the right field line for a two out triple but was left stranded when Soles hit a shot directly at Lauren Cumbess at first to end the inning. It was still 2-0 Louisville after five and Cardinal fans were making a ton of racket out in the outfield berm area.

Chelsea Leonard replaced Connell at pitcher to begin the sixth inning and retired UK in order...three infield grounders for putouts. The Cards went down in order for the first time in the game in the bottom of the sixth.

That set up the scary seventh for UK. 

Joiner drew a walk to begin the inning. Cervantes followed suit and Tori Collins started warming up in the Cardinal bullpen. After going 2-0 to Riley, Sandy Pearsall had seen enough and went to the circle with UofL pitching coach Courtney Scott. Instead of bringing in Collins, though...the brain-trust decided to bring Connell back into the game. 

Connell got Riley to raise a lazy fly to right, but Austin misjudged the wind and dropped the ball. Bases full of Cats and no outs. Connell got Carroll to ground to Arion at short and the throw to Ruckenbrod at the plate was in time for the first out of the inning. O'Brien hit a chopper back to Connell and she tossed the orb back to Ruckenbrod for the second out. Emily Gaines waited Connell out and drew a walk which scored pinch runner Alicia Gustafson to cut the Cards lead in half. 

Bases still loaded and Cards desperately needing that final out. If one ever questioned the thrill and excitement of college sports, they needed to be at Ulmer Stadium last night in the seventh inning. the classic ball game scenario...bags full, two out, one run lead for the home team. Fortunately, Connell had an answer.

Emily Jolly lifted a fly to left that Esteban camped under to end the threat, inning and game. 2-1. CARDS WIN, CARDS WIN!

Good pitching (except for the seventh) tonight for the Cards...allowing just two UK hits. Connell struck out four Wildcats in six innings, to get the win. She goes to 10-1 on the season. Chelsea Leonard had a good sixth inning for Louisville but nearly pitched her way into her first loss of the season. Shake it off and come back strong next time "Lenny". 

Louisville got nine hits off the UK hurlers, Esteban, Fowler and Keller with two each. Louisville left seven runners on base...or this one could have been a bigger Cardinal win.

A great night for a ballgame after the rains left and thanks to CARDINAL COUPLE reader Micki G. for the entertainment and beverages out on the outfield berm. 

Louisville returns to action Friday with a doubleheader against Rutgers at Ulmer. First pitch is noon.


Freshman Bria Smith and sophomore Shoni Schimmel earned postseason honors today for Jeff Walz's Louisville Cardinals. Smith was named a FULL COURT Third team Freshman and Schimmel was selected for the WBCA Region 1 First team. 

Smith is the second Cardinal to make the FULL COURT freshman squad...Shoni getting the honors last season. Bria finished the season third in scoring for UofL with 9.2 ppg and third in rebounding with 4.5 rpg. Her 1.9 steals per contest were second on the Cardinal squad. She was also selected to the All-BIG EAST Freshman team.

Shoni led Louisville in scoring, assists and steals this year. She was a first team All-BIG EAST selection. 


Louisville lacrosse hosts Loyola, MD at the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium Thursday at noon. The Cards (3-6, 1-1) enter the game after defeating Cincinnati on the road last week. 

The Greyhounds (7-3, 3-0) are #15 in the nation and beat Notre Dame last time out.

1 comment:

  1. What a great honor for Bria and Shoni. Cardinal women's hoops should be top ten easily next season.


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