April 20, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - A solo homerun leading off the top of the second inning accounted for the only run of the game and Villanova (15-23, 2-13 BIG EAST) lost to No. 10 Louisville (40-6, 13-1 BIG EAST) by a score of 1-0 in the opening game of a doubleheader at the Villanova Softball Complex on Saturday afternoon. The game featured just seven total hits from the two teams and took only 91 minutes from start to finish. Later in the afternoon the Cardinals won the second game of the day, 5-4, with a rally in the top of the sixth inning of that contest.
Whitney Arion led off the second inning with her fifth home run of the season to give Louisville a 1-0 lead. She hit an 0-1 pitch over the fence in left-center field and was the only hitter to break through in a game where Wildcats freshman Kate Poppe (Downingtown, Pa.) went toe to toe with Cardinals pitcher Rachel Le Coq (16-4, 1.74 ERA). Neither team had a player with more than one hit in the contest.
Poppe (15-16, 2.45 ERA) pitched a three-hitter and walked four while striking out five in her 14th complete game of the season. Aside from the home run to Arion she allowed just two other hits, singles in the top of the sixth and seventh innings. Poppe also did a good job of keeping the game within reach when she escaped a jam in the top of the fourth after Louisville loaded the bases with two outs.
With one out and nobody on in the inning Arion walked and Hannah Kiyohara was hit by a pitch. Poppe got Taner Fowler to foul out on the third base side but a second walk loaded the bases. The count then went full to number nine hitter Katelyn Mann, who eventually popped up to short to end the inning.
The best scoring chance for Villanova came in the bottom of the fifth inning when senior catcher Amanda Marquez (Miami, Fla.) singled to left field leading off the inning. Junior shortstop Ali Lowe (West Palm Beach, Fla.) sacrificed Marquez into scoring position but Le Coq got out of the inning on a lineout to center field and a groundout to second.
Le Coq scattered four hits, all singles, while walking none and striking out seven in the game. Marquez was the Wildcats only runner to reach scoring position in the game. The other hits for Villanova came from Lowe, sophomore designated player Beth Smetana (San Diego, Calif.) and freshman center fielder Shea Palmer (Scottsdale, Ariz.).
Despite getting just three hits in the game the Cardinals stranded seven runners on base due to four walks and one hit batter. The two teams were a combined 0-for-20 with runners on base and each side had just two at bats with runners in scoring position.