Cards Break No. 7 FSU's 16-game Win Streak
Due to the schedule change, Louisville and FSU got a double header underway yesterday around 3:00 PM. While the Cards looked like they might make a game of that first matchup for the first few innings, it was ultimately a game to forget as the Cards fell 10-0 in seven innings. To their credit, Louisville avoided a mercy rule, but just narrowly, as they trailed 7-0 after six. The Cards managed only two hits and a walk on offense, while giving up two errors and 12 hits on the way to the Seminoles' ten runs. Fortunately, there was another game to cleanse the palate.
Taylor Roby started in the circle in the second game for the Cards and put up another glowing performance. She opened the game with a strikeout and never really looked back, despite an inning opening error in the third. Her 1-2-3 first inning set the stage for the Louisville offense to jump on top of a strong FSU squad and Carmyn Greenwood did just that. She led off the bottom half of the first inning with a solo shot to left field. After Maddy Newman struck out, Roby and Makayla Hurst put a pair of runners on base with back-to-back singles, but a strikeout and a pop out ended the threat.
The Noles and Cardinals both went 3-and-out in the second which led to that inning-opening error I mentioned in the third. Jenna Servi skied a throw to first from third which allowed the runner to waltz to second base with nobody out. Roby went to work trying to limit the damage and hold onto Louisville's lead, but it wasn't quite meant to be. Three straight groundouts would have been enough to end it, except for the fact that FSU's second baseman was quick and the balls were all to the wrong spot. The first out advanced the runner to third and the next brought her home. 1-1.
Louisville responded with a run of their own in the third, and it was again Carmyn Greenwood setting things up. Greenwood opened the inning with a base hit and sprinted down to second shortly after. Maddy Newman then hit a ball right at the shortstop, freezing Greenwood but allowing Newman to get on base. Infield singles count the same. Roby, uncharacteristically, popped out to third on the first pitch, but Hurst put the ball in play, and good things can happen when you do that. A grounder to the third baseman in the gap could have been a double play, but an errant throw from the second baseman not only allowed Hurst to pull in safely at first base, but it also gave Greenwood the opportunity to scamper home. Charley Butler singled, but a strikeout ended the inning. 2-1 Cards.
That final run would have been all that Louisville needed. Roby was fantastic, as we saw last week, and she allowed just three more FSU baserunners over the final four innings on two walks and a single. One runner advanced to second, but it was with two outs and the threat was short-lived. Despite not needing anymore runs, the Cards decided to grab some anyway. Former Cardinal Danielle Watson returned to Ulmer for the first time yesterday, and, in the first game, she was sharp. In the second game, not as much. She entered in the bottom of the fourth and retired the first five batters she saw, giving her one out in the bottom of the sixth, with Florida State still just one run back.
She followed those five consecutive outs with a pair of walks. Celene Funke stepped in, said thank you very much for the baserunners, and fired a double down the left field line to move everyone up two bases. After a strikeout, it appeared Watson may escape with just one added run, but that brought Carmyn Greenwood back up. Greenwood has been one of Louisville's most consistent offensive players, and she continue that last night, sending a single to right field to plate two and give the Cards a 5-1 lead. Roby came back for the top of the seventh and gave the Noles a strikeout, flyout, lineout inning and that was that.
Louisville knocked off their second top-25 team of the past week, but we'll see if they can continue any of the momentum from this one. Despite being just two games under .500 after their win over Duke last week, the Cards are now six games adrift and need a lifeline. Another big boost or two with wins over FSU could be nice. They'll have today off to prepare for the final two games of the series as inclement weather in the forecast rescheduled today's games earlier this week. The two teams are back in action at 12PM tomorrow on the ACC Network.
Check out Jared's interview with Coach Aprile postgame here: Holly Aprile vs FSU 4.23.21
Field Hockey Could Be Set for NCAA
UNC won their fourth straight game in overtime yesterday when they narrowly escaped Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons were vying for the ACC's automatic qualifying bid and took the Tarheels to two overtime periods before the golden goal session ended on a penalty stroke for UNC. UNC was going to get into the tournament no matter what, but if they had lost yesterday's game, Louisville may have been in trouble. By staking their claim to the AQ, an at-large bid remains open for Louisville, who should be squarely in now. The NCAA selection for the tournament is tomorrow, with play beginning next week.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour
I'm out this week but that shouldn't stop everyone else from bringing you the joy and excitement of UofL women's athletics. There's softball, volleyball, field hockey, and more to talk about this week so be sure to tune in to the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. This week's podcast will be a little late, but you can find the live show on at 11AM on the Cardinal Couple YouTube channel and the show is available to replay there as well.
Until next time, Go Cards!