We report on the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports here. Thanks for checking us out! Click the picture of Louie to hear the latest Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday Cardinal Couple - Cards defeat Valparaiso 6-4


-Walk off 7th inning homer lifts Cards to win.

-Today's schedule for softball

-Preakness poses possibilities for closers 

Sandy Pearsall is all grins after  Alicja
Wolny's game-winning blast
(Photo by Sir Eats-A-Lot)
For a minute, it looked like it might be Louisville vs. Kentucky in Saturday action in the NCAA Regional.

In the losers bracket in the NCAA Regional.

Down to their final out of the game, the Louisville Softball Cardinals pull out a 6-4 win over the Crusaders with a three-run, game ending home run to right by junior Louisville first baseman Alicja Wolny. 

The blast left a capacity crowd at Ulmer Stadium exhilarated after some nervous moments in the nightcap. Valparaiso simply wouldn't go away and took a 4-3 lead over the Cards in the top of the fifth. 

The Valparaiso Crusader gets the fans fired up
Tori Collins drew the start against the Crusaders but struggled early against the Horizon League opponent. Three first inning singles and a based loaded walk gave Valparaiso a 1-0 lead over the normally untouchable Collins before she got Crusaders first baseman Kelsey Phalen to fly out to center to end the threat. 

Cards Care and Parrish House hero Erv makes sure I
get in the game safely. Say "Hi!" to Erv if you see him
at the game today or tomorrow.
Louisville responded in fine fashion, though, in the bottom of the first...rocking Valpo pitcher Alex Lagesse for four hits...the key blow a one out single by Taner Fowler that drove in Jennifer Esteban and Katie Keller. Even though Fowler was thrown out trying to advance to second...Jordan Trimble followed with a deep double to center that scored Alicja Wolny and gave the Cards a 3-1 lead. 

Louisville threatened again in the bottom of the third. They filled the bases with singles from Wolny, Fowler and Trimble reaching on a error with two outs. Maggie Ruckenbrod's shot down the third base line was fielded by Joylin Ichiyama-Drewry, end the Cardinal threat. 

Cardinal Volleyball star Gwen Rucker takes in the action
After Jordan Rutkowski doubled to start the fourth, Pearsall went with righty Caralisa Connell in the circle.  A single by Ichiyama-Drewry put runners at the corners but a spectacular double play started by Cardinal catcher Maggie Ruckenbrod picked off Ichiyama-Drewry at second and then short shop Whitney Arion's throw back to the plate nailed Rutkowski trying to score to get Louisville out of the inning and out of danger again. 

Louisville got a double from Esteban in the bottom of the fourth but couldn't get her home. After the early success against Lagesse, the Cards couldn't get the ball into the air against her and were clinging on to the 3-1 lead....not putting the Crusaders away.

Valpo had no intentions of going away quietly and began the fifth with a walk and a single. Connell retired the next two batters but two straight walks brought a Crusader runner to the plate and it was 3-2. Pearsall went to the bullpen again and brought closer Chelsea Leonard in to pitch. Unfortunately, Rutkowski greeted her with her second hit of the game, a single that scored two runs and put Valpo ahead 4-3. 

Cards lining up for pre-game introductions
The Cards couldn't produce against Lagesse in the fifth and sixth...grounding out six straight times and getting just one hit. After Leonard shut down Valparaiso in the top of the was do or die time for Pearsall's players. The crowd at Ulmer was doing all it could to inspire the Cards but hits and runs were needed. 

Valparaiso celebrates taking the lead
(Photo by Lindsey Howard) 
Whitney Arion got Cards fans on their feet with a lead-off single to right and Esteban laid down a perfect bunt next that advanced Arion to second. Esteban beat the throw to first to give Louisville two on and no outs. Kristin Austin followed with a grounder to short that was fielded and tossed to third to retire Arion. Katie Keller raised the tension level with a foul pop up that was caught by Ichiyama-Drewry for out number two. 

That set the stage for Wolny, who parked a Lagesse change-up deep to right field and over the fence into the screaming outfield crowd to give the Cards the game 6-4. 


Louisville had 11 hits in the game -- three from Wolny and Esteban. Taner Fowler contributed two singles and Trimble, Ruckenbrod and Arion were 1-3 from the plate. 

Valparaiso gets Kentucky Saturday
(Photo by Stasia's husband) 
Leonard gets the win, improving her record to 11-1, with 2.1 innings of two hit, shutout pitching. Collins went 3 innings...allowing one run on four hits and Connell's numbers were three earned runs on two hits in 1.2 innings of work. 

Louisville played tonight before a crowd of 1645. Good job, Cardinal fans..of getting out and getting crazy! 

The Cards advance to play Michigan Saturday at 3 p.m. The game will be shown on ESPN. 

Other great reads on the win: 
Creighton catches the blast

Howie Lindsey left the press box minutes before the Wolny blast and was down on the field for the momentous occasion. Here's his "take" on the game:
Wolny "knew it all along".


Michigan created their own excitement in the first game, getting a two-out double from designated-hitter Sara Driesenga in the bottom of the seventh to  defeat UK 3-2. The teams went through 3 1/2 scoreless innings before the Wolverines took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth on two singles off Kentucky pitcher Chandra Bell.

Press box view from Friday's games
The Cats came back to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh but couldn't pull off the win. They'll face Valparaiso at 5:30 Saturday in a elimination game. 

Memorable quotes department:

(Kentucky head coach Rachel Lawson, after the loss)

"First, I want to thank Louisville for hosting this event. I normally don't like to thank Louisville for anything but they are doing such a good job, which is pretty cool." 

All righty then. Uh, Rachel...they earned the right to host it. They were 53-3 this year and...what? They beat you twice this year? Try to do better than 4th in the East Division of the SEC next year. Maybe you'll get a shot at hosting someday..SMH.

WE'LL have full reports on today's action in Sunday's CARDINAL some possible commentary from the Cardinal Couple staff on the games later on today. 


The KHSAA State Track meet is also going on down at the UofL Campus...right next to the Ulmer Stadium at Cardinal traffic congestion and big crowds are the scenario for today. 

Go Cards GO! (Photo by Howlin' Wardsey)
Your best bet for softball parking is to leave your car at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium and take the shuttle to Ulmer Stadium. Reports are that the parking garage across the street from Ulmer was full one hour before the softball games started yesterday. 

Today's games:

GAME 3 @ 3 p.m. -- Louisville vs. Michigan
GAME 4 @ 5:30 p.m. -- Kentucky vs. Valparaiso
GAME 5 @ 8 p.m. -- loser of Game 3 plays winner of Game 4.


Speed didn't seem to be holding up well at Pimilico yesterday in races on the it could be a good day for closing horses on today's card...especially in the Preakness. The tight turns and short stretch at the Maryland track sometimes tend to show favoritism to horses that can get out and go early...but several distances races yesterday saw off-the-pace closers coming flying down the 330 yd. stretch and overtake early pace-setters.

Conditions could change today...but in the Preakness...if the closers do well in earlier races -- watch out for I'll Have Another, Creative Cause and Went the Day Well. 

Not much is being said about contestant Teeth of the Dog in the Preakness. He came flying late in his last race..the Wood finish third behind Derby Runners Gemologist and Alpha. 

Neither of those two are in the Preakness. Neither ran that great in the Kentucky Derby,, let the toteboard be your guide on "Teeth". 

Post time is 6:20. 


  1. What an end to the game! Chelsea Leonard has nerves of steel waltzing in, taking care of business. As a closer she needs to, but seeing such poise under great pressure, impressive young lady there.

    Speaking of pressure. Great quote from the ESPN commentators last evening, "pressure is a privilege". Pearsell says this team loves the pressure, which I can believe, as they sure know how to respond to it.

    Great win, Cards! Had to watch on ESPN last night I look forward to seeing the live action today!

  2. Really impressed with the last two games from these "never say die" ladies. Hope I can get out to the park today to cheer them on in person.
    GO CARDS!!!


Please leave your comments here. We ask you be respectful of other posts, no matter how ridiculous they may seem to you. After all, it is CARDINAL COUPLE.

Any attempts to advertise a product or other website here in the comments section without the prior consent of CARDINAL COUPLE will result in a bill rendered for advertising services and possible legal action. We're serious. No more bots.

Now, have your take...