CARDS RALLY FALLS SHORT IN RALEIGH
Louisville Softball got themselves in a hole early against the Wolfpack in the series finale Sunday, and -- despite three home runs -- fell to NC State 10-6
The Wolfpack posted three runs in their first-at-bat against the Cards, all with two out in the inning -- and Louisville was able to get only one back in the top of the second when Vanessa Miller went "Grass, fence, wall - touch 'em all" on a solo shot in the top of the second. It was her third round-tripper of the season.
NC State got that run back in the home half of the second when they connected on a solo homer.
The third inning is where the damage was done. NCST exploded for six runs. Two home runs, a double and a single gave the Wolfpack a 10-1 advantage. Sam Booe and Taylor Roby felt the wrath of the NC State bats and needed to do something to prevent a five-inning run rule decision.
And respond they did. Louisville put four runs on the board in the top of the fourth. A three-run Roby home run down the left field line was the big blast in the inning (her 12th of the season) and Hannah File began the inning with a triple. Thee former James Madison standout scored on a Jenni Servi single. It was 10-5 NC State, but the Cards were showing life.
But, the scoring pretty much ended after that. Tala Felder entered the circle in the bottom of the fourth and delivered three innings of two hit, no run pitching for the Cards. Louisville had two on in the top of the fifth but could not advance them home. Vanessa Miller went "yard" for her second home run of the game in the top of the seventh to make it 10-6, but the Cards scoring stopped there.
Louisville falls to 19-15 on the season with the "L" and is 3-6 in ACC play.
A big one awaits Wednesday when the Cards take on in-state rival Kentucky and this one will be shown on ESPNU. We'll cover that preview in more detail in our Wednesday column.
UCONN WBB vs.SOUTH CAROLINA IN THE NCAA WBB FINALS
South Carolina is your 2021-22 National champ- disposing of UConn last night 64-49
The Gamecocks got off to a 13-2 early lead on the Huskies and never looked back. They held UConn to just eight first quarter point in amassing a 22-8 first quarter lead. That lead swelled to 30-12 in the second quarter before UConn mounted a charge that got them back into the contesr but USC scored last in the half and took a 35-27 into halftime.
South Carolina started the second half on a 11-0 run and that pretty much doomed any UConn chances of winning.. The SEC school coasted through the forth quarter and won by 15 over a UConn squad that failed to put as many points on the board as Louisville did against them in the semi-finals.
Congratulations to the Gamecocks.
A SEASON RECAP
What fun it was to watch Louisville women's basketball this season ! The Cards took us on a magical ride that gave us so many things to enjoy and embrace. The dominating guard play of Hailey Van Lith, Kianna Smith, Chelsie Hall, Kasa Robinson and Ahlana Smith shut down opponents defensively and put points aplenty on the scoreboard.
Emily Engstler, Olivia Cochran and Liz Dixon were as good as any front line in the nation and battled on the boards, shut down taller foes and packed a powerful scoring punch. Payton Verhulst contributed a loy as well as a freshman and the future looks so bright for her. A solid reserve crew of Ramani Patker, Merrisah Russell and Sydni Schetnan make sure the Cards maintained the pace and momentum when they entered Cardinals contests.
It took the eventual National Champion to finally stop this Cardinal Cannonball, a UofL team that was so good and effective on defense and ran past so many opponents (in conference and out). Foes never knew who would explode on them offensively but did know that points were going to be very hard to come by against the Cards stifling defense.
Louisville will miss Hall, Engstler and Kianna Smith but there is so much talent returning and a great incoming class of five freshmen who will compete for playing tome and recognition. Louisville women's basketball is alive, prospering and will be a major force to deal with in the 2022-23 season.
Jeff Walz and the coaching staff did a wonderful job with these college student-athletes. We wish Sam Purcell the best of luck and unqualified success at Mississippi State. I hope they realize what an incredible, hard working coach they are getting in Starkville.
Such a fun, exciting and rewarding season we had, that got the Cards back to another Final Four. Whaddya say we do it again next year and end the season on a winning streak?
CARDINAL COUPLE PICK EM
With South Carolina winning it all, we had two contestants tie for most wins. Our own Jared Anderson and Kenny S. ended up 47 wins, so we went to the tie-breaker. 113 points were scored in the championship game -- Jared predicted there would be 120, Kenny S. guessed a few more than that, so Jared wins the trip to Sea World (just kidding), but he nabs the winning gift card to Cracker Barrel. Kenny gets Subway.
A thanks to all that participated and to our Bracket Czar Jared.
What? He ran the contest AND won it? The Cardinal Couple Chimps have lodged a protest, called for sanctions and demanded a court of inquiry be formed. Yeah, we'll get right on that...