Saturday, May 18, 2013
Saturday Cardinal Couple -- Softball Cards hold on for 2-1 win over IPFW
SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
-Cards escape bases loaded IPFW 7th to win.
-Meet Bill Salyer
-Cardinal Couple Radio today!
If you are a fan of strong, dominating pitching...you had to love last night's 2-1 UofL win over IPFW in Ulmer Stadium. If you have a heart condition, though...the seventh inning probably had you looking for a first aid station or a defibrillator. Alicja Wolny's grab of a shot from IPFW's Alex Bousquet down the first base line got the Cards out of trouble and into the 2 p.m. game Saturday against UAB in the winner's bracket.
The Cards couldn't figure out IPFW pitcher Miranda Kramer in the first four innings. Three up, three down in the first three frames and a perfect game on the scoreboard before Katelyn Mann singled with one out in the fourth, stole second and Alicja Wolny drew a walk. The Cards were unable to capitalize, though...Maggie Ruckenbrod flying out to right and Jordan Trimble caught looking at one of Kramer's nine strikeouts.
Meanwhile, starting Louisville pitcher Rachel LeCoq was creating her own masterpiece on the mound, allowing just two hits and two Mastodon baserunners through five innings. Louisville entered the bottom of the fifth deadlocked in a scoreless tie and needed to make something happen.
Hannah made it happen. Hannah Kiyohara, UofL's left fielder started the inning with a sharp single to left. She was lifted for pinch runner Chrisanna Roberts, who advanced to second when Kramer plunked Taner Fowler with a fastball. Whitney Arion followed with a bloop infield single the load the bags with Cards and no outs. Jennifer Esteban, playing in her first game back from injury, drilled a shot literally off third base that IPFW couldn't come up with and Roberts scored to give the Cards a 1-0 lead. They wasted a prime opportunity to add to the margin though...Katie Keller becoming another Kramer KO victim, Mann popping out to first and Wolny grounding out to second.
IPFW wasted no time in tying it up in the top of the sixth. Alex Bousquet took a LeCoq fast ball to right center and it cleared the fence by the slimmest of margins. LeCoq recovered, however and sent the next three Mastodons back to the dugout.
Louisville responded in the home half of the sixth. After Maggie Ruckenbrod benefited from a dropped routine fly ball by IPFW right fielder Hillary Kartman, Jasmine Smithson Willett came in to pinch run.
( Our own Jenny O'Bryan, sitting in the right field open seating claims responsibility for the error...surmising that her taunting must have finally got to Kartman.)
Jordan Trimble's sacrifice bunt moved JSW to third and Kiyohara came to the rescue again, drilling a rope up the middle of the infield that nearly decapitated Kramer. It scored Smithson-Willett. Fowler's bloop infield gave the Cards runners on first and second...but Kramer shut the door once again...sending Arion and Esteban away from the plate with her eighth and ninth strikeouts.
All Louisville had to do was retire the Mastodons in the top of the seventh to take the win...but it proved to be an arduous task. With one out, LeCoq hit designated hitter Audrey Minton with a fastball inside. Prestlee Cooper came in to pinch run but watched as LeCoq fanned Megan Flenniken for the second out. It looked like it was over when Brittany Kachur hit a routine grounder to Cardinal shortstop Arion...but she had trouble coming up with it and suddenly, the Mastodons and two runners. With the infield playing in...Kayti Hanson lined a shot at UofL third baseman Mann, but she bobbled it and it was pulse-check time. Bags loaded, two outs and home run hitter Alex Bousquet at bat.
Fortunately, Wolny fielded the hit safely and the Cards were winners. After scaring around 800 fans to death.
Kiyohara was humble in the post game press conference, as was Esteban...simply stating they did what they had to do to help the team to a win. LeCoq was brilliant in her performance in the circle...admitting she "might have got the pitch a little high" on Bousquet's homer.
On a night where Louisville's three All-Region selections went a combined 0 for 8 at the plate...a transfer pitcher, player fresh off an injury and Hannah "Kivohara" (according to her name tag placard in the post-game press room) bailed out the Cards on a night where the rain mercifully held off.
Louisville opens action Saturday with a 2 p.m. game against UAB. The Blazers used a six run third inning to send UCLA to the losers' bracket 6-3. UCLA and IPFW follow at approximately 4:30 p.m.
If the Cards win, they play for the regional title Sunday. If not, they face the winner of the UCLA vs. IPFW game about thirty minutes after the completion of that one. That winner will also advance to Sunday's finals...in the double elimination format.
I had a great conversation wih IPFW Assistant Athletic Director for Media Services Bill Salyer before the Louisville game. He explained the choice of a mastodon as the school mascot. An important archaeological "dig" a few miles from the IPFW campus uncovered a great skeleton of a prehistoric mastodon and a baby mastodon as well...
It's a good thing they didn't find Jimmy Hoffa. The IPFW Hoffas just doesn't have the same ring, does it?
The mascot is called Don the Mastodon and Bill revealed to me that the Fort Wayne, Indiana school has an enrollment of about 14,000 students....mostly commuters. They have 16 sports teams on campus and play men's volleyball instead of football. About 50 IPFW softball fans were on hand to cheer on the Mastodons.
Best quip of the night in the press box also came courtesy of Bill when he deadpanned:
"I only go out drinking on two different occasions a year. When it's my birthday...and when it isn't."
He didn't reveal whether he's a potential candidate to replace Julie Hermann at Louisville or not...probably because I never asked if he was or not...but you gotta love the guy's spirit. They even do occasional radio broadcasts of IPFW softball. Are ya reading this, Mr. Jurich?
Jeff and I stand ready to handle the play-by-play and color commentary duties. We haven't decided just who would do which and it probably wouldn't matter...two babbling guys who are going to go off on random tangents and things unrelated to softball or sports would well be worth a listen.
Speaking of...we're on the radio this morning at 11. Crescent Hill Radio, along with outfield hooligan Jenny. We'll see just how far her taunts get here over the internet airwaves...
Join us, won't you? Either live or archived on the heavenly Soundcloud.
THREE REASONS TO ACCESS THE INTERNET
I've gotten several inquiries from folks on whether anyone can beat ORB today in the Preakness at Pimlico. My answer? Not unless they've cloned Secretariat and have entered "BIG RED II" in the race. Sonja is in full agreement.
Since ORB will probably go off as the odds-on favorite, there won't be a lot of money to be made there. We're going to try a Pick 4 earlier in the card that ends with the Preakness. Looking for some prices in the first three and a "single" with ORB in the final leg.
IF pressed for a possible upset special in the Preakness Stakes, I'll offer either GOLDENCENTS..who will force the early pace and probably try to wire the field, or ITSMYLUCKYDAY, a horse I absolutely loved when he was a 2 yr. old and has still got me waiting for that one huge triumph.
Sonja says that beating ORB is liking pitching a no-hitter against the Louisville softball team. Improbable, highly unlikely but not impossible. She loves OPTIMIZER in a earlier race on the card today in Maryland and will be backing that one fairly significantly.