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Friday, February 7, 2014

Saturday Cardinal Couple - Softball splits on first day at FAU Classic


- Louisville splits games in Boca Raton

- Radio today


                            GAME UPDATE
Louisville put five runs together over the final three innings Saturday afternoon to defeat Ohio State 5-4 in the FAU Kickoff Classic. Rachel Le Coq gets the win in relief in the eight inning contest. Katie Keller singled home Hannah Kiyohara in the bottom of the eighth to improve the Cards to 2-1 on the season.

In game two, Louisville ran into a hurricane in Tulsa pitcher Aimee Creger...who limited the Cards to two hits in a 3-0 Cardinal loss. Connell and Le Coq shared the mound duties...a three-run homer in the third dropped the Cards to 2-2 on the season.



Louisville begins the 2014 season with a 7-1 win over the Northern Illinois Huskies in Boca Raton at the FAU Kickoff Classic. Kelsi Jones smacked a two-run homer and Maryssa Becker had five strike outs, three walks, three wild pitches and gave up one hit in her Cardinal debut on the mound.

The Cards started Caralisa Connell in the circle. The infield starters were Taner Fowler (1B), Katie Keller (2B), Whitney Arion (SS) and Kayla Soles (3B). Behind the plate for UofL...Maggie Ruckenbrod. Brittany Duncan got the nod at DH. The Cardinal outfielders...Morgan Meyer (LF), Kelsi Jones (CF) and Hannah Kiyohara (RF).

Louisville wasted no time getting started. After Connell retired the Huskies in the top of the first, Louisville plated two runs. With one out, Missouri transfer Kelsi Jones singled to center. She was followed by DH Brittany Duncan, a Valpariso transfer, who doubled to left center...scoring Jones. Duncan got to the plate on a Taner Fowler grounder...scoring when the throw to first went awry. 2-0 Cards after one.

Louisville added two more runs in the bottom of the second. Kayla Soles led off the inning with a home run blast to left that made it a three-run Cardinal advantage. Katie Keller doubled with two outs and scored from third on a double steal. Louisville led 4-0 after two.

Connell would continue to mow down Huskies and so would Maggie Ruckenbrod. She threw out two would be base stealers early on and the Huskies had learned their lesson. Don't test the "peg" on "Marge". Connell stepped aside after four innings...allowing just one hit and striking out three NIU batters.

Maryssa Becker entered the circle for the Cards and it got interesting. She escaped the fifth inning on a nifty double play...Keller grabbing a grounder with one out, firing to Fowler at first...who threw to Ruckenbrod at home...getting the Cards out of danger.

Becker gave up a booming double to NIU's Ashley Kopp in the sixth...who scored on two Becker wild pitches. She got out of the inning with two strikeouts.

The Cards pushed the lead to 7-1 in the bottom of the sixth. Jordan McNary, pinch running for Whitney Arion, stole second and then scored on a Keller single to right. It was 5-1 UofL. After Keller's hit, Jones provided the final margin with a line-hugging left field home run.

Becker finished the game in the top of the seventh...walking the first two batters she faced and then striking out the Huskies' Oswald, Rupard and Leonard in a her five strikeouts for the three innings pitched.  

“We’re excited about the first game of the season and pleased to get the win,” said UofL head coach Sandy Pearsall. “I was really impressed with our defense today. They stepped up and made a lot of tough plays and that’s what we have to do all season long. I thought our pitchers both played well, they each had some ups and downs, but they came through and both came back strong when they needed to. Offensively, this wasn’t necessarily the fastest start we’ve had, but I really liked what I saw from our junior class. I think that as time goes on, if we try to stay within ourselves and don’t try to do too much, we’ll be good.”



In game two, the Cards started almost the same lineup...but Jordan McNary went to left field and Rachel LeCoq drew the starting pitcher assignment. The hits were still coming but the runners just weren't reaching the plate.

Louisville loaded the bases in the top of the first when Duncan and Ruckenbrod single and Fowler got hit by a pitch but couldn't score . It was the Owls who flew first...getting a triple from Shelby Knox and single from Whitney Herb.

The Cardinal bats remained silent while FAU increased the lead to 3-0. Herb and Shell singled in the bottom of the fourth and scored on Christina Martinez's triple.

Connell replaced LeCoq on the mound in the fifth inning and struck out two Owls.

Louisville loaded the bases again in the top of the fifth after a McNary single, Jones walk and Duncan base on balls but could not push one across home plate. Connell continued strong...striking out the side in the bottom of the sixth.

The Cards needed runs and had were running out of chances to produce them.

UofL threatened again in the sixth when Kiyohara walked and Fowler singled...but neither reached third.  After Connell quieted the Owls in the bottom of the inning...Louisville got Jones and Duncan singles in the top of the seventh but...just like the rest of the game...couldn't do anything with them. Coach Pearsall relates:

"We had plenty of opportunities to score, but we couldn't find anyone to step up and get the job done," said UofL head coach Sandy Pearsall. "I'm disappointed in our execution. We have so much experience, but we are playing tentatively. The bright side today was our defense. We played more aggressively on defense than we did offensively. If you want to win games, you've got to be aggressive in both areas."

The Cards return to action today with games versus Ohio State ( 1 p.m.) and Tulsa (4 p.m.)


We'll be on air this morning on Crescent Hill Radio today from 11-noon. Lots of things to cover and we have sound bytes from Asia Taylor, Sara Hammond and Coach Walz.

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