NORMAN, Okla. –The No. 11 University of Louisville softball team upset top-ranked host Oklahoma 5-1 in game one of a double header and fell 9-1 in the nightcap Saturday. The Cardinals (26-5) and the Sooners (27-2) will meet to decide the three-game series Sunday at 1 p.m. (EDT).
Junior RHP Caralisa Connell struck out four and scattered three hits and junior Taner Fowler had two RBIs as the Cardinals upset No. 1 Oklahoma 5-1. The win marks the first over a top-ranked team in program history.
The teams played through three scoreless innings before the Cards used five hits to score five runs in the top of the fourth. Maggie Ruckenbrod got the scoring started when she delivered a one-out single and Hannah Kiyohara hit by pitch to place runners on for Whitney Arian’s RBI hit which scored Ruckenbrod and snapped OU’s shutout streak of 43.1 innings. Taner Fowler followed with a two-run double and came home on Kayla Soles RBI single. Keller’s two-out hit plated Soles to increase Louisville’s lead to 5-0.
The Cardinals used some impressive defensive plays from Ruckenbrod who teamed with shortstop Arion to catch a runner steal second in the first and with second baseman Keller to pick off a runner at second. Esteban also made a diving catch in foul territory for an out and combined with Arion and to catch a runner in a double play at first.
Kalian Ricketts connected on a one-out solo shot over right center field to break up the shutout in the bottom of the seventh.
Connell improved her record to 16-2. Keller was 2 for 4 with one RBI.
Ricketts (14-1) took the loss, allowing five earned runs on eight hits and striking out 11 in 7.0 innings of work.
Oklahoma 9 – Louisville 1
In game two, Taner Fowler’s solo home run pulled the Cards within two runs, but costly errors and a powerful Sooner offense was too much to overcome as Oklahoma used a six-run fifth inning to beat the Cards 9-1.
Oklahoma took an early 1-0 lead in the second when Jessica Shultz reached on an error and was lifted for pinch runner Erica Sampson who took second on a wild pitch. Ricketts smashed a double to left center to bring her home and make the score 1-0. Jessica Vest walked and Brianne Turing was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs for Lauren Chamberlain who leads the nation in hitting and home runs. Louisville pitcher Rachel Loco got her fly out to left fielder Jennifer Esteban to get out of the jam.
The Sooners tacked on a pair of unearned runs in the fourth. Ricketts reached on an error and was safe at second on another error on a steal attempt. One out later, the third miscue of the inning allowed Destine Martinez to reach on a sacrifice bunt and sent Ricketts home. Jessica Vest’s double plated Martinez to give Oklahoma a 3-0 lead.
Fowler connected on her second home run of the season, a one-out shot over the left field fence to put the Cards on the scoreboard and cut the lead to two runs in the fifth.
Oklahoma used two walks and five hits to score six runs in the bottom of the fifth. Shelby Peddle drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on Jessica Shultz’ base hit. Ricketts walked to load the bases. Singles by Brittany Williams, Martinez and a double by Brianna Turing brought home the final six runs of the game.
Loco (10-3) took the loss, allowing nine runs, six earned, on seven hits and striking out one in 4.0 innings.
Michelle Gascoigne (12-1) got the win, giving up one earned run on three hits and striking out three in 5.0 innings. Vest was 2 for 2 with a run and an RBI while Turing was 1 for 1 with three RBIs to lead the Sooners at the plate.