LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Katie Keller was 2 for 3 with two runs and three RBIs to help lead the No. 18 University of Louisville softball team to a 9-3 win over Buffalo Saturday afternoon in the Cardinal Classic. The Cards (10-2) will face Kent State at 12:30 p.m. and Eastern Illinois at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
“Buffalo did a great job of attacking us aggressively and caught us back on our heels,” said U of L head coach Sandy Pearsall. “I was proud of our players responding in crucial situations, especially Hannah Kiyohara, Jasmine Smithson-Willett and Kayla Soles who got things going for us late in the game.”
Buffalo (2-6) jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first when Tori Pettine was hit by a pitch and eventually scored on Anissa Pinedo’s RBI single.
The Cards answered with three runs in the home half of the first. Jennifer Esteban and Katelyn Mann drew back-to-back walks to set up Keller’s two-run double. Two outs later, Whitney Arion’s double plated Keller to make the score 3-1.
Sammi Gallardo took the first pitch of the fourth inning over the centerfield fence to cut the lead to 3-2. The Bulls evened the score in the fifth when Pettine drew a leadoff walk, took second on Pinedo’s base hit , moved to third on a wild pitch and crossed the plate on Alyssa Ward’s sacrifice fly to make it a 3-3 game.
Louisville used five hits and two walks to put up six runs in the bottom of the sixth. Hannah Kiyohara and Maggie Ruckenbrod earned back-to-back one-out walks to set up Jordan Trimble’s RBI single which gave the Cards a 4-3 lead. Jasmine Smithson-Willett followed with a pinch hit RBI single to plate Ruckenbrod. One out later, Keller’s base hit sent Trimble home. Alicja Wolny’s single brought home Jennifer Esteban and Kayla Soles’ triple added two more runs to the Cards’ lead for the 9-3 final.
Caralisa Connell (6-1) got the win, allowing one earned run on two hits and striking out six in 4.0 innings of relief. Trimble was 2 for 3 with one run and one RBI. Soles was 1 for 1 with two RBIs.
Heather Ryder (1-1) took the loss, allowing four earned runs on four hits in 3.0 innings of relief. Pinedo went 2 for 4 with an RBI to lead the Bulls at the plate.