Louisville Wins Twice in Cardinal Classic Double Header
Louisville fell behind in the first inning of action at Ulmer Stadium this season before ultimately scoring 7 unanswered runs to take care of Indiana State 7-1. Sounds pretty simple, right? Not quite. The Cardinals and Sycamores were locked at 1 from the second inning on, and Indiana State threatened to regain the lead multiple times throughout the game. It wasn't until the 6th inning that Louisville scored its next 6 runs and then finished ISU 1-2-3 in the 7th to win the game.
Louisville took advantage of three Indiana State errors, all in the sixth inning, to win the game. Five of Louisville's six runs in the sixth were unearned, the go ahead run being the only earned run of the inning. Despite the significant number of unearned runs, the Cards were still credited with 5 RBIs, with Celene Funke, Megan Hensley, and Cassady Greenwood earning one apiece and Kara Snyder picking up two. Celene Funke led the Cards on offense with 3 hits on 4 at bats. She scored a run, had the aforementioned RBI, left no runners on base and struck out 0 times.
Because I apparently do not know how softball pitching scoring works, Megan Hensley was credited with the win, despite exiting a tie game in the top of the fifth inning. Louisville would not take the lead with Hensley in the circle, but she moves to 2-1 and Taylor Roby, who pitched the final three innings (including getting the Cards out of an early jam in the fifth) earned the win. Hensley finished with six hits vs six strikeouts. She walked one batter, hit one batter, and allowed one run. Roby had three strikeouts, only one hit, and one wild pitch. Louisville's pitching in this game was a lot better than it has been in terms of control, and that is important as giving opponents free baserunners can lead to losing games.
There was no rest for the weary after a late win, as the Cards prepared to take on the Missouri Tigers (26th in the latest RPI) just a half hour after their previous game ended. Louisville is currently ranked 45th in the RPI so a win here would show that the Cards have the ability to finish games against stronger competition, something they kind of need to prove after a less than stellar start against quality teams so far this season.
It was a come from behind game again for Louisville as they allowed Mizzou to take a 3-0 lead in the second inning following two hits, two walks, and an error. Fortunately, the Cards were able to clean up the defense and pitching after the second inning, scattering just three more hits, two more walks, and one more error throughout the game. The Cards' bats were quiet for the first half of the game, as their only baserunner came on an error in the first. Louisville's first hit came on a single by Hensley in the fourth inning. She was replaced by Jordyn Wolfe on the basepaths, who scored on a Caitlin Ferguson triple in the next at-bat. After a Rebecca Chung walk, Ferguson was replaced at third by Maddy Newman (who was pinch running for Chung) after a baserunning breakdown. Ferguson out, Newman at third. Taylor Roby singled up the middle and the Cards trailed only 3-2.
Again, in the sixth inning, the Cards made their move. Ferguson and Chung were determined to score on their own, and after Ferguson doubled, Chung sent a home run over the right center wall to give the Cards a 4-3 lead. Louisville dinked and dunked a couple of more hits to bring Kara Snyder in on a Riley Schindler single and the Cardinal lead moved to 5-3, the final score.
The Cards were led on offense by Ferguson and Roby, both going 2-3 with an RBI, and Chung, who was 1-2 with a walk and the go ahead two-run homer. Danielle Watson went the distance in the circle in this one, moving her record to 4-4. She allowed 5 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), and 4 walks. However, she did strikeout five, and as I mentioned before, most of the damage to her line was done in the second inning. She allowed more than one baserunner in only one other inning, and that was an error and a walk. Watson and Hensley are both fighting to be called the "ace" of this team, and the competition is a good thing to have. The two make each other better and it is exciting to see improvement from them.
Also important for the Cards is that the pitchers and offense are supporting each other. Last season, we saw games where the pitchers would be great, only for the offense to be inept and the Cards lose a low scoring game. In other games, the offense would score ample runs, only for the pitchers to give up even more and the Cards lose a high scoring game. Louisville has been very balanced so far this season and that is the path to success. Hopefully Holly Aprile can keep finding improvement in her team this season and beyond. The Cards are back in action this morning at 10:30 in a rematch game against ISU before a 4:30 (scheduled) game against IUPUI. Both games are available on ACC Network Extra if you cannot make it out to Ulmer.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour
I'm out of the studio this week as deadlines call me into the office once more, but fear not; the four seats shall be filled. Paulie, Jeff, and Jared are joined this week by Daryl Foust, who is more than thrilled that softball has returned to the Ville. The four will discuss yesterday's softball games, likely while keeping up with the action in the game ongoing during the show, while also giving Louisville women's basketball the attention it deserves. It should be a fantastic hour of sports talk radio, the only one bringing you all of the news and analysis regarding Louisville women's sports. Tune in to WCHQ at 100.9 FM, the WCHQ App, the WCHQ website, or fanfare back on Facebook Live at 11AM.
Until next time, Go Cards!
Photos for this article provided by Jared Anderson.
Photos for this article provided by Jared Anderson.