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Saturday, April 8, 2023

Beautiful Evening; Ugly Softball -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

BREAKING: HVL is in the Transfer Portal

All good things must come to an end. As the transfer portal gives, it can also take away. Rising senior guard Hailey Van Lith has decided that her time with Louisville has come to a close and has entered the transfer portal. We'll, of course, be monitoring the situation and will have more information as it's available. Entering the portal isn't transferring, but the return rate is quite slim. It's shocking news, but we'll just have to wait and see how it all shakes out.

Cards Avoid Run Rule; Fall 13-6

After holding Notre Dame to just one run, getting a stellar pitching performance from Taylor Roby in relief Thursday night, and scattering just six hits and no runs for the entire game, Louisville entered a bizarro world last night. Louisville scored six runs last night, but Roby gave up six earned runs in just 1.1 innings, and Notre Dame wasn't done scoring. Louisville trailed 3-1 after one inning, 8-3 after two, and 10-3 after three. The Cards were able to hold off the five-inning run rule, scoring three runs after going down by ten in the top of the fourth, but they were still well out of reaching distance. A beautiful sunset was the backdrop for a less than stellar performance from the Cards pitching staff and Louisville dropped their first conference series since the first of the season against Duke.

Notre Dame got to work early, putting their first three runners on base. When the lead-off batter advanced to third on a bunt single from the second hitter, Louisville should have been wary of the speed of the Notre Dame offense. A steal put runners on second and third with no outs. A single scored a run and another steal put two runners back in scoring position. On a grounder, Louisville made the wrong fielder's choice, allowing another run to score, getting no outs, and putting runners on the corners. A strikeout finally recorded an out for the Cards, but they fell for the double steal play. Sarah Gordon found Daisy Hess at second to get the second out of the inning with a caught stealing, but the runner from third waltz home in the meantime. A ground out ended the top half with the Cards down 3-0.

Louisville got to work quickly as well, and it looked like the two teams may be in for a scoring fest. Korbe Otis liked ND's idea of a bunt single, so she did it too, advancing to second on an errant throw. Sarah Gordon hit a deep fly ball to right that acted as a sacrifice, sending Otis to third. Hannah File was intentionally walked and Taylor Roby got a two-strike gift with an HBP (it was probably a painful gift). With one out and the bases loaded, Louisville had the opportunity they had been looking for, but Hess struck out to put them in a position to miss out completely. Makayla Hurst stepped in for Easton Lotus and took another painful gift, getting hit by the first pitch of the at bat to earn an RBI. Aly Alexander, unfortunately, flew out to end the inning. Louisville had shown life and gotten one back: 3-1.

Notre Dame, though, wasn't done exploding on offense. The first four batters put the ball in play with a double and a pair of singles split by a ground out. The second single scored two runs and ended Taylor Roby's day. Sam Booe stepped in and was welcomed with a full count single and a three-run homer. The home run put Louisville in an 8-1 hole and woke Booe up. Booe has a habit of coming in and needing a couple of batters to get settled. It was an inconvenient time for that to happen in this game. A fly out and a pop out ended the Notre Dame outburst.

The bottom of Louisville's order went down quickly, turning over to Otis at the top with two outs. Down to her final strike and Louisville's chances dwindling, Otis nabbed a single to spark a two out rally. Gordon followed suit, and File drew a walk to load the bases. Having just been hammered in the top half, Taylor Roby got a bit of payback with a two run single to left field. File moved up to third when the pitcher fumbled the get-in throw, and Notre Dame made a pitching change after just 1.2 innings with an 8-3 lead. The new pitcher induced a pop-out to end the inning.

Sam Booe looked settled in, getting a first pitch ground out to retire her third straight batter. It looked like it would be four straight on a fly ball to right, but the catch was erred and the batter advanced to second. Vanessa Miller got another opportunity immediately after and made the catch to give Louisville a second out. Just like walks, though, errors will haunt. A single scored an unearned run and a triple scored another before Booe could get another flyout to end the inning. I understand the premise of any runs being scored with two outs after an error being unearned, but if another out has been tallied and then back-to-back batters have a single and a triple, I tend to give a little less grace to the pitcher getting the unearned runs. Either way, Louisville trailed 10-3. They responded with a 1-2-3 bottom half.

Cassie Grizzard took over in the top of the fourth, and she had just as much luck as Louisville's first two pitchers. She walked the first two batters and Louisville made another poor fielder's choice to load the bases with nobody out. A strikeout finally recorded an out, but a four pitch walk brought home a run. With a force at any out, a grounder to third got the second out while scoring a run and putting runners on first and second. The next batter hit a deep single, scoring a run before being thrown out trying to stretch it to a double. Louisville trailed 13-3 and was officially on run-rule watch.

Louisville got straight to work, getting a four pitch walk from Paige Geraghty and then seeing Korbe Otis reach for the third time in three tries on a single. A Sarah Gordon double (she was also productive in her first three at bats) scored a run and put runners on second and third with nobody out. A sac fly from File scored Otis, but Roby grounded out and Hess continued her evening to forget with another strikeout. Two runs kept the game alive, but Louisville still had work to do down 13-5.

Gabby Holloway took over in the top of the fifth and seemed to finally solve Notre Dame. She got a three-pitch swinging strikeout and a first pitch ground out to quickly take command of the inning. A full count walk briefly disrupted her, but a ground out ended the top half. Louisville's bottom half of the order started out less than thrillingly, with a pair of ground outs digging their hole even deeper, but Pickle Winkler coaxed a seven-pitch walk and Paige Geraghty singled. Korbe Otis stepped up and made her day even better by going to 4-4 and adding an RBI with a single. Gordon, unfortunately, couldn't keep up her hot day, as she ended the inning with a strikeout looking. Gordon had fouled off seven pitches in the at bat and was trying to finally lay off to fill the count when she watched the third strike instead of the third ball. 

Otis's single was the last RBI of the game for either team. Notre Dame got a single in the sixth and an HBP in the seventh, but Holloway was otherwise nails for Louisville, putting up three scoreless innings with three strikeouts. Louisville left two on base after a Roby walk and Lotus single were erased on a ground ball, and Otis was left on base in the seventh after getting on base for the fifth time the hard way. Not the hard way as in she drew a walk, but the hard way as in softballs are hard. Notre Dame hit three batters on the day, making me wonder if they're wild (they also had five walks) or if Louisville crowds the plate. Could be either or both. At any rate, Louisville was unable to score any of the seven runs they needed to get back into the game, and they fell 13-6.

This weekend has felt a bit like Goldilocks, with Louisville scoring too few runs and then Notre Dame scoring way too many. The Cards could really use a win today to avoid the sweep and get back on track for the remainder of the season. Louisville has some nice wins but they'll need more of them and fewer ugly losses (or losses to ugly teams) to make the NCAA tournament. After pitching just about the entire pen in last night's loss, I'd expect to see Alyssa Zabala get the start again this afternoon, but we also haven't seen Taja Felder in quite some time. Louisville and Notre Dame will wrap the series on ACC Network proper at 2PM.

Wins Away From Home

It wasn't all bad for Louisville yesterday. Louisville Track and Field is in Oxford, Mississippi participating in the Joe Walker invitational, and Aliyah Welter continued her dominance in relief of Gabriela Leon in the pole vault. Welter picked up her second win of the outdoor season. She had three during the indoor season. Zoe Yeast earned fourth with a PB in hammer throw and Katie Martin had a PB 24.38 in the 200m, good for ninth in the event. 

Louisville's spirit squads are in Daytona Beach for the NDA/NCA championships and they're bringing home some hardware. The All-Girl Cheerleading squad took first place to earn Louisville's 19th overall championship. Large Co-Ed, Small Co-Ed, and the Ladybirds (team performance) all finished second within 1.1 points of the winners. Additional championships (dance hip-hop, partner stunts, and cheer team) are on the agenda for today.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

We'll be without Daryl and Jared this morning, but this week's show got a lot spicier, so I'm sure Paulie, Jeff, and I will have plenty to cover the hour. We'll do our best to keep it about the joy and excitement of Louisville women's athletics, but down performances and bad news can make it a bit tough to stay positive. It's sure to be eventful, no matter what. 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!

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Until next time, Go Cards!



  1. IMHO,
    This transfer portal is really a bad thing it's not a good thing for fans to relate to the players now they have one year to relate to the players this is like the NBA or any pro team crazy NIL money bad for college sports.

    you need a new style coach wheeler and dealer like a used car salesman to deal with this NIL thing.

    1. On the bright side I like 6 ft Guard 6-1 guards so maybe we upgrade and get taller guards.
      Go Cards LC4

  2. It's like fishing, bait your hook, toss the line in the water and see what happens. Van Lith and squad were shut down by a team that had been together for three years, plus Clark. What is goes to show is nobody is bigger individually than the team is, as a whole.

    Good luck, Van Lith. don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

  3. Again, I'm SICK and TIRED of the portal.
    And until I hear news about us getting portal players, we're RAZOR thin now.


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