Softball Struggles Continue
Despite Louisville's season opening victory over a ranked team, the wheels appear to have fallen off of the softball train before it even left the station. Since the win over 21/25 Ole Miss, Louisville has dropped its last six games, with only one other game coming against a ranked team. The Cards are clinging on for dear life trying to get to through February and get back to Ulmer Stadium, but before that, they'll have to face Michigan and Wisconsin again, Penn State, Alabama twice, and Oklahoma State twice. That's not even to mention the rest of the teams mixed into the remaining weekends. There is still a lot of season left, but Louisville needs to get back on track quickly or the hopes of a tournament bid may be on the ropes before the Cards even play a home game.
Louisville opened yesterday's games with an 11 AM start against Michigan, ranked 11/8 over the two polls. After a scoreless first, the Wolverines opened the scoring in the bottom half of the second inning with a two run double. They'd follow that up with a couple of runs in the bottom of the third that chased Chardonnay Harris and the Cards found themselves down 4-0. After Louisville was finally able to keep Michigan off the board in the fourth inning, they got a pair of runs back on a two run homer by Taylor Roby in the top of the fifth. The momentum was short lived, though, as the Wolverines grabbed those two runs right back in the bottom half. Louisville was unable to find any more offense in the last two innings and the final score was 6-2.
The second game saw Roby take the mound against Wisconsin, and she pitched a pretty good game. Roby gave up two runs on five hits with no walks and six strikeouts in a complete game. Unfortunately, Louisville found themselves unable to score for the first time this season, and Roby's two earned runs in the second inning were the deciding factor in the game. Wisconsin's Kaitlyn Menz pitched a gem, with three hits and one walk against five strikeouts. The Cards threatened late, loading the bases with just one out in the bottom of the seventh, but a strikeout and a foul out ended the inning and the game.
Despite the issue for Louisville recently being of the pitching and defensive variety, this year is seeing unusual struggles at the plate. The Cards currently only have seven players even qualifying for season batting statistics, showing that the offensive lineup remains wholly unsettled. Of those seven, Roby's .316 is the only average above .300. Two players are below .200 and four are below .225. The most surprising of those is Celene Funke, who is certainly in a funk to open the season. Despite her insane triple pace (50% of her hits are triples), she's batting just .148 (4-27) and has no walks compared to nine strikeouts. As the leadoff hitter, Funke paces the team offensively, and she'll need to get back to her old self for Louisville to succeed.
The Cards will get their chance at revenge against both the Wolverines and the Badgers this weekend. The second game against Wisconsin gets underway at 1:30 PM today and the rematch against Michigan is tomorrow morning at 10 AM. We'll see if Louisville can't get some momentum going and put another mark or two back in the W column.
Lacrosse Brings in Denver
Louisville opens their home schedule this afternoon when the Denver Pioneers, ranked 9th in the country, find their way to the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium. The two teams have a strong recent history, having played every year since 2013. Louisville is 3-4 all time against Denver, but have lost the last three, including the program's all time worst loss last season in Colorado. Louisville struggled in the snow during that game and fell 18-2. The last victory for Louisville came in 2016 at home, so perhaps the Cards can use a revenge game to springboard a big season. The first draw will be at 12PM and Paulie and Jared will be on hand for all of the action. Tune into ACC Network Extra if you can't make it down to campus.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour
Due to scheduling conflicts between hosts and studio availability, we won't be able to bring you a show this week. We'll look forward to getting back into the studio next week and staying on track to bring you the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports.
Until next time, Go Cards!