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Saturday, April 30, 2022


Softball Beats Virginia in Game 1

In the opening game of Louisville softball's Senior Weekend, the Cards showed that they still have some fight as they try to finish the season with some momentum and potentially make enough noise in the ACC tournament to find an NCAA bid. A win last weekend would have gone a long way, but they came up just short on all three occasions against the Hokies. After a sweep against Syracuse and then being swept by Virginia Tech, the Cards found themselves two games below .500 in conference, but a big weekend against Virginia can put them in a position to finish .500 with a split against Notre Dame in the final series of the regular season next week.

All of those hopes and dreams depend on winning games this weekend, which Louisville did in dramatic fashion yesterday. The first inning started off pedestrian enough, with a pair of groundouts induced by Taylor Roby, but back-to-back singles gave UVA a chance at an opening frame run. Fortunately, Roby was able to get a popout to end the inning. Once the teams changed sides, Carmyn Greenwood worked a full-count walk to get on base as the leadoff. Korbe Otis made an out that I can't quite parse from the box score: "Otis grounded out to c unassisted (0-2)". I'm not sure if she bunted on two strikes or what, but I haven't seen a player ground out to the catcher and get tagged out and a popout would usually be noted. 

At any rate, Greenwood stole second with one out, and an errant throw sent her to third, putting the Cards in prime position. That would be where her trek around the bases would end, though, as Roby struck out and the passed ball wasn't enough to score the run, and Kendall Smith popped a foul ball to first base. Roby hasn't been missing many bats lately, and that came to pass again yesterday, as she finished the complete game without striking out any Cavaliers. Putting balls in play can be very beneficial for an offense, as Virginia showed in the second inning. A walk to open the inning was erased by a fielder's choice, but a runner remained at first. A slow grounder to third gave the Cards two outs, but they couldn't make the lead play at second. With a runner on second and two outs, a single to left seemed innocuous at first, but Greenwood booted it in the outfield and both runners advanced. With a run in hand, the next batter sent a single up the middle to score a speedy runner from second, and Louisville trailed 2-0. A flyout ended the inning.

The Cards didn't bite back immediately, as three fly/pop outs were split by a Vanessa Miller single to coast through the second quickly. Roby was much more efficient in the third inning. Despite still getting the ball in play, Virginia was able to only eke out a pair of groundouts and a popout. Jenna Servi opened the bottom of the third with a triple, and Greenwood made up for her error in the previous inning with a first pitch RBI single. After Otis flew out and Roby lined out, it looked like the Cards would only get one back, but Kendall Smith came up with her first big hit of the evening, a double that brought Greenwood around to tie it. Not content with the tie, Hannah File doubled as well and the Cards led 3-2 after a flyout ended the inning. 

Another 1-2-3 inning in the fourth brought Louisville back to the plate and they were handed a golden opportunity to extend their lead. Vanessa Miller reached on an error to open the inning, and Maddi Grant did the same, with both players advancing an extra base. With runners on second and third and no outs, Louisville promptly followed with two pop outs and a groundout to end the inning. That missed opportunity looked like it would immediately haunt the Cards as Virginia regained the lead in the fifth. A walk to open the inning seemed like it would be dealt with after two quick outs, but a steal and another walk set up a two-RBI triple with two outs. Down 4-3, the Cards really would have liked to score when given the chance.

The next four half innings seemed as though both teams had finally settled in, and Louisville's chances were dwindling. They sent seven batters to the plate and saw six of them sit down immediately, as a sacrifice bunt in the sixth didn't help to bring the tying run around. Virginia put a few runners on base, but didn't threaten as much as in previous innings, and Louisville was set up for one last chance in the bottom of the seventh. With the top of the order up, the Cards had the best chance they were going to get, and the leadoff group came through. Greenwood opened with a single and Otis followed with a four-pitch walk. Virginia changed pitchers with the tying run at second, and the new entrant induced a groundout from Taylor Roby. Though that gave them one out, it was a productive out, as it moved both runners up. Kendall Smith took advantage and her second big hit of the night won the game, as a single to left scored both runners.

Louisville will get a chance to move to .500 in conference this afternoon in game two of the series. The game will get underway at 4PM and is available to watch on ACCN if you don't want to get out into the beautiful afternoon at Ulmer. After yesterday's game, Jared got the opportunity to chat with the game winner. Check out the interview with Kendall Smith below. 


Cardinal Couple Radio Hour PODCAST

Another place to hear the interview should be today's Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast. I'm out this week, but the rest of the crew should bring a great show. As we wrap up the spring seasons, we are approaching the summer slump, but there's always something for us to ramble on about. 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! Paulie, Jeff, Jared and Daryl on board today for the podcast/ 

Cardinal Couple YouTube: Link
Anchor (podcast host): Link
Apple Podcasts: Link
Breaker: Link
Google Podcasts: Link
Overcast (free account required): Link
Pocket Casts (free account and app required): Link
RadioPublic: Link
Spotify: Link

Until next time, Go Cards!

Photos in today's article by Jared Anderson. You'll notice many of the players wearing purple bows and eye black. This is in honor and remembrance of the JMU softball player who lost her life recently. Her number is also honored in the batter's box this weekend. Hannah File transferred to Louisville from JMU.

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