Softball Uses Big Inning to Get Past Virginia
Despite the fact that a double header was announced to replace today's second game of the series between Virginia and Louisville, the Cards and Hoos only faced off once yesterday. Deciding, apparently, to brave the April snow today, the two teams will take to the field at the originally scheduled time in game two of three. Louisville had a monster third inning to run away with yesterday's game. They'll hope to have a similar result, if not the same process, in today and tomorrow's games. As Jared mentioned yesterday, conference play has not been friendly to the Cards so far, and they were coming into this weekend after a midweek beatdown in the big rivalry game.
With Danielle Watson facing back issues, Megan Hensley took to the circle in game one. Let's just say that while Megan didn't take the loss, she also didn't get the win. Hensley's bat was impressive for the Cards yesterday, but her arm was not. She finished the day with only 3.0+ innings pitched while giving up 9 hits and 2 walks for a WHIP of 3.67 (yikes) and 7 earned runs (including a 3 run homer). I was going to do the math on her daily ERA, too, but I couldn't figure out if I should multiply by 9 or just 7 since it's softball so I gave up. Either way, the ERA, like the WHIP (walks + hits per inning pitched) was high, and a pitching line such as that will usually lose you games. Hensley did strike out two batters and did not hit anyone, but those were kind of the highlights of her pitching.
Fortunately, after going down 3-1, Louisville's offense exploded for 11 runs in the third inning. Louisville had opened the scoring in the bottom of the first solely on the legs of Sidney Melton. Melton singled to start the inning, then advanced a base each on back to back productive groundouts. A runner on third with two outs apparently wasn't acceptable to the first baseman, as she sailed a throw (to third?), allowing Melton to waltz home on the error. Louisville started the third inning with back to back walks and a single to load the bases. A Maddy Newman single brought in two runs to tie the game at three, and a double steal put runners on second and third with nobody out. Caitlin Ferguson reached on an error, which scored a run, and Louisville had taken the lead with two runners still on and nobody out. Hensley promptly jacked a three run shot and the Cards were up 7-3. Nicole Pufahl stepped in with the bases empty and laid down a bunt, which the pitcher threw as hard as she could away from the first baseman, allowing Poof to advance to second. After a pitching change, Kara Snyder walked, and Jordyn Wolfe loaded the bases with another reach on an error. Jenna Jordan stepped in and hit a bases clearing triple into center... Okay so she actually hit a single and the center fielder had yet another (!!) error for the Cavaliers, plating all three runs and allowing Jordan to sneak to third. Celene Funke hit a ground ball to second for what appeared to be the first out of the inning, until it was botched and Funke reached while Jordan scored. Funke stole second. Melton grounded out to the catcher, unassisted (what?). Funke stole third, and Newman brought her in with a groundout. Ferguson flied out and the nightmare inning for Virginia was over. Louisville scored 11 runs, 7 of which were unearned.
After Hensley allowed the Wahoos to get back within 5, she was replaced by Paige Schindler, who walked the only two batters she faced. Kara Snyder came in and got her first three batters out to end the threat. Snyder went on to finish the game, pitching 4 innings and giving up just three hits and one walk compared to three strikeouts. She gave up no runs and was awarded the win. Like Watson, Snyder is a freshman and is one of the reasons that the future looks bright for UofL softball.
Hensley hit her second home run of the day in the bottom of the third to get one of the runs back and Snyder picked up the Cards final RBI of the day in the bottom of the sixth inning. Virginia was unable to recover from the third inning and could not crack Kara Snyder. The Cards won 14-7. The Cards were led on offense by Hensley, who went 3-4 with 4 RBI and 2 runs scored and Jenna Jordan, who went 3-3 with 2 RBI, 2 runs scored, and drew a walk. The Cards finished the game with a team on base percentage of 0.424 and only left 4 runners on base. Capitalizing on an opponent's mistakes is a sign of a strong team, and Louisville's offense was strong yesterday. The Cards and Cavs will play game two today at 3 PM.
Other Sports Playing Today
In addition to softball, we've got other women's sports on deck today. The track team is at the Alabama Invitational all day, hopefully staying away from the snow. Jeff McAdams is excited, today, as spring volleyball is fully underway while the Cards hit the KIVA College Showcase at OVVC. Jeff will be there all morning, taking in the sights and sounds, and getting a good handle on what the Cards team will look like going into next season. Finally, women's lacrosse is on the road at North Carolina, where they'll hope to get back on track. The Cards have lost 4 straight and six of their last seven. Scott Teeter knew he would have his work cut out for him when he arrived on campus, and he'll look to get his first ACC win today at 3. The game will be carried on ACC Network Extra.
The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour
With me on the disabled list, Jeff watching volleyball, and Jared counting change, Paulie was all set up to be alone in the studio today. Not wanting to expose the dear listeners to that debacle, comedian John Mauldin, long time friend of the show, stepped in to take one of the empty chairs on Mellwood Avenue. The two should put on a great, if different, show today and, as always, will bring to you the joy and excitement of Louisville women's sports.
Until next time, Go Cards!