April 21, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - In the finale of a three-game series Villanova (15-25, 2-14 BIG EAST) lost by a final score of 8-1 to No. 10 Louisville (42-6, 15-1 BIG EAST) at the Villanova Softball Complex on Sunday afternoon. The visiting Cardinals swept the three-game series and pulled away in the middle innings of today's contest after the first three frames were scoreless.
Louisville scored five times in the top of the fourth inning to break open what was shaping up as a great pitchers' duel between freshman Kate Poppe (Downingtown, Pa.) and Cardinals starting pitcher Caralisa Connell (25-2, 2.03 ERA). There were a total of just three hits between the two teams in the first three innings before the Louisville offense started to get going.
The table was set for the Cardinals in the top of the fourth inning when Whitney Arion led off with a single and was safe at second when Hannah Kiyohara reached on a fielder's choice sacrifice bunt. Kayla Soles followed with a run-scoring single that brought in Arion with the first run of the game and by the time the inning was over Louisville had batted around.
With the bases loaded and still just one out in the inning leadoff hitter Katie Keller singled through the left side to score two more runs and make the score 3-0. On a relay throw to home plate Keller took second and Katelyn Mann moved up to third. The head-up base running proved to be beneficial when Jordan Trimble followed with a line drive up the middle for a single that scored both runners, making the score 5-0 and knocking out Poppe (15-18, 2.58 ERA) after 3 1/3 innings. Junior reliever Kaity Sitzman (Tucson, Ariz.) came in and retired the first two batters she faced to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth inning sophomore pinch runner Elise Samoy-Alvarado (Tucson, Ariz.) scored on a wild pitch with one out but the Wildcats were prevented from having a potentially bigger inning when senior first baseman Valerie Ortega (Ventura, Calif.) lined into a hard luck double play to end the inning with the bases loaded and one out.
Senior right fielder Julie Smith (Dana Point, Calif.) led off the bottom of the fifth with an infield hit and sophomore pinch hitter Randi Josett (Agua Dulce, Calif.) followed with a double to left field. With one out in the inning senior catcher Amanda Marquez (Miami, Fla.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Connell was replaced on the mound by Rachel Le Coq, who was the winning pitcher in both games of a doubleheader between the teams on Saturday afternoon.
Le Coq threw a wild pitch which allowed Samoy-Alvarado to score and the other two runners to move up to second and third. Junior shortstop Ali Lowe (West Palm Beach, Fla.) reached on an infield hit and both runners were forced to hold where they were. Ortega followed by swinging at the first pitch she saw and her line drive was perhaps the hardest hit ball of the game but it was directly to Arion at shortstop, who made the catch and threw to third to complete the double play.
In the top of the sixth inning the Cardinals added three more runs when Trimble hit an RBI double to the gap in right-center field and Alicja Wolny followed with a single up the middle to drive in two runs. Maggie Ruckenbrod followed and hit a line drive to shortstop, which Lowe caught and immediately threw to first to double up Wolny on a heads-up play.
Lowe went 2-for-3 in the game and also had a double down the left field line in her first at bat of the game. Freshman center fielder Shea Palmer (Scottsdale, Ariz.) also had a hit for Villanova.
The win went to Connell, who allowed the one run on four hits over 4 1/3 innings, while walking one and striking out one. Le Coq wound up allowing just one hit and no walks while striking out three over the final 2 2/3 innings to pick up the save.
Poppe was charged with five hits and five runs allowed in 3 1/3 innings, while walking three and striking out four. Sitzman yielded three runs on five hits with no walks and a strikeout in the final 3 2/3 innings.
Next up for the Wildcats is a non-conference doubleheader against Temple on Tuesday afternoon. The first game of the day will begin at 3 p.m.