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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Cards Experience Tough Road Friday -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Softball Shut Out in Series Opener 

Louisville softball headed to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech this weekend and got off to a rocky start. While the Yellow Jackets are decently ahead of the Cards in the ACC standings, their overall records are very similar. On paper, it should be a relatively even series. GT didn't care much about paper yesterday, as they stung early and often against the Cards en route to an 8-0 five-inning run rule. All eight runs for GT came in the first three innings, with seven coming in the second and third. 

Alyssa Zabala started in the circle for Louisville, and it was not her day. Zabala walked the first two batters, induced a pop-up, then plunked the clean-up hitter to load the bases. A pair of ground outs ended the inning but a run came home to score. Another walk started the second and a sac bunt moved the runner into scoring position. Back-to-back singles scored a run and then a home run scored three more. A fourth (sixth, in a way) straight hit earned Zabala the hook and Brooke Gray came on to pitch. Gray hit the first batter she faced, but picked up another two outs to get out of the side. 

Louisville got their first runner on base in the third with a Maddi Grant double to open the inning, but two runners were left on base after Daisy Hess took a 2-out walk and Riley Frizell struck out. Gray returned to the circle and got GT's first batter of the inning out for the first time in the game. Unfortunately, a pair of singles were followed by the Yellow Jackets' second three-run homer of the game to set the score at 8-0. Two more quick outs ended the inning but the rout was on. 

Louisville's fourth saw them put two in scoring position via walk, HBP, and fielder's choice, but a flyout had split the runners and the Cards couldn't initiate a two-out rally. After Gray got out of the fourth with just one single, Louisville was down to their final three outs, needing at least one run to extend the game. Katie Thatcher came on to pinch hit for Chelsea Mack and was walked on four pitches. A sac bunt (down 8-0, really?) moved Mack (who took the base back from Thatcher) to second, but Louisville couldn't bring her around to score. 

There isn't much else to say about this one. Cards need to rip off the rearview and face today's game with a clean slate. They'll be back in action today at 2PM before wrapping up the series tomorrow at noon. Both games will be available on ACC Network Extra. 

Lacrosse Falls in Tight Road Finale

Scott Teeter's squad was in Durham yesterday for their final regular season road match of the year. The Cards took on Duke and held a slim 7-6 lead heading into halftime. Louisville was unable to hold onto that lead, unfortunately, as a three goal deficit in the third quarter gave Duke the gap they needed. The Cards tied the Blue Devils 10-all in quarters 1, 2, and 4, but lost the third 4-1, setting the final margin at 14-11. 

Kokoro Nakazawa was the leader for the Cards, tallying five of their 11 goals. She scored the first two goals of the game before Nicole Perroni gave Louisville a 3-0 lead with eight minutes remaining in the first quarter. Coincidentally, Louisville's goal scoring in the game was nearly palindromic. Maggie McMahon scored the fourth goal for the Cards, and their final four goals went McMahon, Perroni, and Kokoro x2. The three central goals were scored by Izzy Seikel, Kokoro, and Negai Nakazawa. 

Maddie McCorkle matched Kokoro with five goals for Duke. The Cards were on the back food the whole game, and Sara Addeche did well to keep the game as close as it was. Duke outshot Louisville 39-26 and won the shots on goal battle 25-17. I'll save you the math: Addeche finished with 11 saves. Part of the Cards' woes was the fact that they were dominated on draw controls. Duke led that category 21-8 and took all eight DCs in the second quarter. Louisville won 5/7 in the first quarter before winning just three for the remainder of the game. If you are on defense immediately, you're going to be under pressure a lot. 

Duke was ranked #25 in the country coming into the game, so a road matchup was always going to be tough. The win moves them to 10-6 (4-4) while Louisville is now 7-9 (2-6). All 10 teams make the ACC tournament, and Louisville is currently the nine seed. The Cards hold the tiebreaker over Clemson, but lost to VT, so would need the Hokies to lose their last two games to jump them. The best the Cards can do is get to 7th with a victory over Notre Dame in the season finale. That last game will be Thursday at 12pm in Louisville Lacrosse Stadium. 

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

We'll have four on board for this week's show, with Daryl occupied by her obligations with the Louisville Bats. We'll still have an exciting show lined up, with joy and excitement to cover despite the losses. As always, you can check out the live stream of the show by going to the Cardinal Couple YouTube page and clicking on the live video. Jeff usually creates that about an hour before the show, which officially starts at 11 AM Eastern. If the live time doesn't work for you, there are plenty of playback options, so be sure to check out whichever is best for you!

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Until next time, Go Cards!


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