SOUTH BEND, Ind. (News Release) -- A lead-off home run in the bottom of the eighth by sophomore Jordan Trimble lifted the University of Louisville softball team to a 4-3 win over host Notre Dame in the finals of the 2012 BIG EAST Championship.
The regular season champion Cardinals rallied from a 3-0 deficit and sent the game to extra innings to claim their second league tournament title.
"I am absolutely ecstatic about this game and this season so far," said U of L head coach Sandy Pearsall. "I'm thrilled for Jordan Trimble and I'm so proud of this entire team. Today was a complete team effort against a great Notre Dame team."
Notre Dame took a 1-0 lead in the second. Kasey O'Connor registered a one-out single and moved to third on an error following Chloe Saganowich's infield single. Alexa Maldonado followed with an RBI single to put the Irish on the scoreboard.
The Irish put up two more runs behind Katey Haus's two-run homer in the third. Emilee Koerner delivered a two-out single to set up Haus' home run and make the score 3-0.
Louisville got two runs back in the fourth when Taner Fowler led off the inning with her twelfth home run of the season. The sophomore took a 0-1 pitch over the left field fence to make the score 3-1. Jordan followed with a triple off the top of the right field fence and came home on a bunt by Katelyn Mann to cut the lead to 3-2.
In the fifth, junior Jennifer Esteban reached on a one-out single. One out later, junior Alicja Wolny drew a walk to set up Fowler's two-out RBI single which brought Esteban home and tied the score at 3-3.
The teams battled through the next two innings. Notre Dame had a scoring opportunity in the top of the seventh when Kelsey Thornton drew a leadoff walk and took second on Amy Buntin's sacrifice bunt. Dani Miller's walk placed two runners on with one out. Cardinal reliever sophomore Caralisa Connell got Emilee Koerner to hit into a fielder's choice which was Thornton out at third. Sophomore Chelsea Leonard entered the game and got Haus to ground out to third to end the inning.
The Irish also had a runner in scoring position with two outs in the eighth, but Leonard got Maldonado to ground out to second to send the game to the bottom of the eighth.
Trimble, the BIG EAST Tournament's Most Outstanding Player took the first pitch over the right field wall for her fourth homer of the season to give the Cards the 4-3 win.
Leonard (10-1) got the win, giving up one hit and striking out one in 1.1 innings of relief. Connell held the Irish scoreless on one hit and struck out one in 2.2 innings of relief. Starter Tori Collins allowed three runs, two earned, on eight hits and fanned two in 4.0 innings. Trimble was 2 for 4 with a triple and a home run and scored two runs. Mann was 3 for 3 with an RBI. Fowler was 2 for 4 with a home run, two RBIs and a run. Collins, Fowler, Trimble and Wolny were named to the All-Tournament team.
Laura Winter (27-9) took the loss, allowing four earned runs on 10 hits and striking out two in 7.0 innings. Haus was 2 for 4 with a home run and two RBIs to lead the Irish offensively.