Cards' Rally Not Enough in 6-4 Loss
Louisville gave FSU all that they could handle in game one of the final weekend series of the season, but the Seminoles ultimately came away with the win and clinched the ACC regular season title in the process. Louisville stayed in touching distance throughout the game, but left the bases loaded in the top of the seventh to end the game. Today and tomorrow's games will be on ACC Network proper as the Cards are still playing for third place in the league. Louisville needed a sweep to stay ahead of Duke for second place, and they'll need to win the series to beat Clemson for third. Louisville has shown that they have some surprises in store, so we'll see what the rest of the weekend brings.
As for last night's game, Louisville was a bit lucky that things didn't get out of hand early. The Cards went 1-2-3 in both of the first two innings while Florida State put runners in scoring position with one out in each inning. The bottom of the first saw an error move runners to second and third before a pop out and a strikeout got Taylor Roby out of the jam. A walk and a steal led to the RISP in the second, but this time Roby induced a pair of grounders.
The top of the third saw Louisville finally get on base. Pickle Winkler, batting in the eight hole, was the first Cardinal to get the ball out of the infield, and she did so by singling to right center. Her efforts were erased by a groundout fielder's choice and a groundout to end the inning. The third also saw increased success for FSU. Instead of reaching base for the first time, the Seminoles reached home. A pair of singles would have put runners on first and second, but an error in the outfield moved the batter to third and brought the leadoff hitter home to score. Louisville was in a 1-0 hole with nobody out and a runner at third. A pop out saved the run for one more batter but a single scored her next. A foul out gave the Cards two outs but their third error of the night put two runners on and chased Roby from the circle. Alyssa Zabala came in and got a strikeout to end the threat. Louisville trailed 2-0.
FSU welcomed Zabala to the fifth with another single and Holly Aprile had seen enough. Gabby Holloway came in and immediately gave up a single of her own. This one was deep enough for the runner to go from first to third, and the throw across the diamond allowed the batter to advance to second. A fly out tacked a second run onto Zabala's line as her runner came in to score, but Louisville was able to double up the runner from second by throwing straight to third instead of home on the sacrifice. A hit-by-pitch put runners on the corners but a ground out ended the threat. Officially, Holloway would go down as the only one of six combined pitchers thrown by the two teams (seven if you count the FSU starter reentering) to not allow a run. Nevertheless, Louisville was now down 4-2.
The top of the sixth saw the top of Louisville's order up, and Korbe Otis started the inning the way she probably wished she started the game. After beating out a bang-bang play (the Cardinal Couple crew was split on the decision), her being on base became a big deal when Lotus singled to right center. Big deal you say, right? Well it was when the FSU shortstop erred to move Lotus to second and score Otis. Three quick outs ended the inning but the Cards had clawed a run back.
Sam Booe entered to take on the home half of the sixth and two quick singles looked quite negative. Booe bounced back to get a pair of outs and runners stood at first and second with two down. Booe would get a foul out to end the inning, but not before a double scored both runners. FSU led 6-3 entering the last frame for the visitors. The Cards put on their rally caps and drew two walks to open the inning. Someone must have moved in their seat, though, as those two runners with nobody out quickly turned into two runners with two outs after a strikeout and a pop out. Otis got things back on track with a walk to load the bases, and Lotus fired a shot right back at the pitcher, who couldn't field it cleanly. Everyone moved up sixty feet and the score moved to 6-4. Into the box stepped the NCAA leader in home runs with the bases juiced and a two-run ball game. It wasn't meant to be, though, as a strikeout meant the #3 Seminoles survived the upset bid.
As I said before, Louisville still has plenty to play for, and a win would go a long way toward boosting their NCAA tournament resume. The two teams will square off for game two of the series at 2PM today on ACC Network before wrapping on Sunday at Noon, also on ACCN. Tune in to see if the Cards can make some magic happen.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast
If you listened to last week's show or have followed along with the site the last couple of weeks or have kept up with the site for years, you'll know we're off this week. It's Derby Week in the Derby City and that means that Saturday is jam packed full of other stuff. We'll be back next week to discuss the ACC Softball Tournament and any other news and notes that come up as part of the joy and excitement of UofL women's athletics.
Until next time, Go Cards!
PS - Check out Paulie's Picks to be more informed on your Derby Day. A little birdie told me it was a pretty successful Oaks Day for our fearless leader.