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, February 11, 2023

Softball Splits; Lacrosse Drops Heartbreaker -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Softball Opens with Win, Falls to UK

Louisville softball got their season off to an interesting start yesterday in Clearwater, Florida. That start included back-to-back games to open their schedule with the second coming against a ranked rival. The Cards opened with South Alabama at 11AM, with the game against Kentucky scheduled to start at 1:30PM or 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. At the same time as Louisville faced South Alabama, Kentucky took on St. John's on a different field at the same complex, so the Cards don't have that as an excuse. However, their games couldn't have gone much differently.

Kentucky cruised to a 14-4 run rule over St. John's. The Red Storm took a 3-0 lead into the bottom half of the first, which UK quickly erased with a 2-out grand slam. In the meantime, Louisville struck first against USA in the third inning. On the play, Korbe Otis stood at first, having earned a one-out single before Taylor Roby fouled out. With two outs, Otis was running on contact, which came lightly off the bat of Hannah File. The ball blooped over Otis's head, and fell in front of South Alabama's second baseman, who was playing off. As Otis rounded second, the second baseman fumbled the ball, taking a play for File at first out of the question. Recovering, she prepared to throw the ball home as Otis didn't slow down. The throw was way off target, allowing Otis to score and File to reach second. Vanessa Miller went down swinging to end the inning, but the Cards held a 1-0 lead.

That lead was quickly erased by an unearned run by South Alabama in the bottom half. What goes around comes around, they say. Louisville got a strikeout to start the inning, but back-to-back singles put runners on first and second. A grounder looked like it would end the inning harmlessly, but newcomer Daisy Hess (a transfer from Georgia State) made an uncharacteristic error. The high school Gold Glover and three-year starter at shortstop for GSU stepped on the bag for the first out but airmailed the throw to first to allow the runner rounding third to score. Louisville got another grounder to end the inning, but the score was tied at one. 

Neither team was able to break through for the remaining four innings of regulation ball, with Louisville grabbing two singles and reaching on an error and South Alabama picking up two walks. The Cards took to the plate first in the eighth, with a runner standing on second, per the international tiebreaker rules. To Louisville's great benefit, the previous batter had been Korbe Otis, who advanced to third on a wild pitch quickly. Taylor Roby doubled to score Otis and was pinch run for to continue the attack. After a strikeout, a dropped flyball put runners on the corners for catcher Sarah Gordon. Gordon doubled down the left field line to score them both and give the Cards a 4-1 lead. A flyout and a strikeout ended the inning and Louisville took to the field. USA would score one in the bottom half, as it's pretty difficult not to score a runner from second with no outs. In fact, USA used two outs to score her, getting an advancing ground ball and then a sacrifice fly. With nobody on and two out, Alyssa Zabala picked up her third strikeout to finish the inning and grab her first win as a Cardinal.

As I said, Kentucky was a little more rested than Louisville, but neither team could claim much momentum. Even though Louisville had just picked up an extra inning win, Kentucky scored seven runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to complete their game one run-rule. The #20/17 Wildcats wasted no time getting back to business. After sitting Cards down in order in the top of the first and having their leadoff batter ground out, the Cats put three straight players on base with a single, an outless fielder's choice, and a double. A passed ball helped set up the fielder's choice and a fielding error by the catcher on the double allowed the second run to score. After a groundout advanced the runner to third, another double brought her home. Another groundout ended the inning, but Louisville was quickly in a 3-0 hole. 

Louisville finally got a runner on base to leadoff the third inning, but she was caught stealing to quickly end that threat. Defensive issues came back to bite the Cards again in the bottom half of the third. After a single and a walk had runners on first and second with two outs, a throwing error by the pitcher on what should have been the third out allowed both runners to score and pushed the Kentucky lead to five. The fourth inning saw six up, six down, and Louisville finally got their second base runner to open the fifth when Roby singled. Again, the runner was quickly erased, this time on a lineout double play. 

The bottom of the fifth unraveled for Cassie Grizzard, who hit a batter to open the frame, gave up a four pitch walk after a steal, and saw a 2-2 pitch skied to center for the walk-off home run to end the run-rule shortened game. Though they had only two strikeouts, the Cards also had just two hits. They committed three errors, leading to four of Kentucky's eight runs. The Cats are good, and Louisville will get another shot at them this season, but this is a game to forget. Fortunately, there are positives to take from game one of the day, and Louisville is allowed to have a short memory early in the year. The Cards are back in action today at 1:30PM against Southern University and later at 4 against another ranked SEC team. This time it's Mizzou. The gocards website includes a video link, but the stream can be a bit hit and miss.

If you would like to follow Softball today, TRY THIS LINK HERE

Lacrosse Drops Four-Goal Lead Against Denver

Louisville lacrosse opened their season against Denver yesterday, and the game is beginning to feel like a given on the schedule. Unlike in years past, Louisville looked very prepared early in this one. While the Cards have played Denver close before, it didn't exactly feel like they threatened to win. That was different yesterday, as Louisville opened the scoring and held a 3-0 first quarter lead. Unfortunately, their offensive firepower ran out much too early, and the Cards fell 5-4.

Nicole Perroni was the first on the board for the season, surprising no one, as she scored in less than five minutes. Negai Nakazawa, Kokoro's younger sister, scored to put the Cards up 2-0 and Perroni struck again to make it 3-0 with just eight seconds remaining in the frame. The second quarter was much less eventful, with neither team able to score again until Louisville increased their lead to four with a Lauren Figas goal with 2:25 remaining. If you had told Scott Teeter or anyone else that it would be their last goal of the day, they'd surely be shocked and dismayed. Those feelings would come to pass. It took Denver fewer than 30 seconds to answer the fourth goal, cutting the lead to 4-1 with just under two minutes until halftime. Louisville held on to the break and went to the locker room feeling good. Remember, no one had told them yet that they wouldn't score again.

The third quarter played out much like the second, with neither team making much offensive headway. Lauren Black scored a second goal for the Pioneers with 3:05 remaining in the third, but Louisville still held a two-goal lead. Unfortunately for the Cards, a two-goal lead entering the late stages of a game is among the most dangerous leads you can have psychologically. Two goals feels comfortable, but just one quick goal cuts your advantage in half and gives the opponent more motivation. Such was the case in the fourth quarter of this one, as Denver scored at the 9:49 mark and equalized just 44 seconds later. All of the sudden, Louisville went from a two-goal lead to a tied game and Denver was rolling. Such is the psychological snowball effect. In just under a minute and a half more, Denver scored the go-ahead goal, the ninth and final goal of the match. Neither team was able to attack successfully for the remaining eight minutes of the match, but only one team needed to. After scoring the first four goals of the match, Louisville gave up five straight to end their chance at a top-ten upset.

There is a lot to be encouraged about with this match. Similarly, there is plenty to be discouraged about. Denver is a top-ten team (ranked 9th), and the Cards should have beaten them. They scored early and often, but they weren't able to keep up the scoring later in the game, despite having seven shots in both halves. One of the discouraging stats is the turnovers, as Louisville had 25 in the game, ten more than Denver. Another issue was draw controls late. After winning the draw control battle 3-1 in the first quarter, the Cards lost it 6-3 over the remaining three quarters. Those draw control losses can lead directly to goals, as was the case on the quick Denver run.

Louisville has today off before they host Colorado tomorrow. The game is at Noon and will be available on ACC Network Extra. The Cards will look to bounce back from the tough loss and regain some momentum. It's a short non-conference season, as Louisville will get Lindenwood next Sunday before starting conference play against Virginia on the 25th. 

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

We're without Daryl this morning, but after recovering from travel last week, I'm back to make it four on today's show. With spring sports getting fully underway, we'll have more than enough to talk about to fill the hour. 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!

Cardinal Couple YouTube: Link
Anchor (podcast host): Link
Apple Podcasts: 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!


No comments:

Post a Comment

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...