LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The No. 10/11 University of Louisville softball team swept a BIG EAST doubleheader with Connecticut winning the first game 3-2 in eight innings and the second 8-0 in six innings Saturday at Ulmer Stadium. The Cards (36-6, 9-1 BIG EAST) and the Huskies (17-18, 3-7) will wrap up the series Sunday at 12 p.m.
Louisville 3 – Connecticut 2 (8 innings)
In the opening game, the Cards score two runs in the bottom of the seventh to rally from 2-0 deficit and junior Taner Fowler’s RBI single in the eighth sealed a 3-2 win.
Louisville had an early chance to score but came up empty in the first when Hannah Kiyohara drew a one-out walk and was thrown out at home while trying to score on Maggie Ruckenbrod’s two-out double off the center field fence.
The teams played through two scoreless innings before the Huskies broke through behind Brittany DuClos’ leadoff home run in the third.
The Cards had another scoring opportunity in the fifth when Kayla Soles delivered a leadoff single and was lifted for pinch-runner Chrisanna Roberts who moved to third on Whitney Arion’s base hit. Arion took second on the throw to place two runners in scoring position with no outs in the inning. UConn starter Lauren Duggan retired the next three batters to hold Louisville scoreless.
The Huskies added another run in the seventh when Kim Silva led off the frame with a triple and crossed the plate on Audrey Grinnell’s sacrifice fly to make the score 2-0.
Louisville rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Jordan Trimble got the Cards started with a leadoff double and came around to score on a single by Kayla Soles. Katelyn Mann entered to run for Soles. Arion delivered her third hit of the game and advanced to second on the throw to place runners at second and third with no outs. A wild pitch sent Mann home to tie the game at 2-2, but UConn reliever Katelyn Callahan held the Cardinals in check to send the game into extra innings.
Schiappa delivered a one-out single in the eighth, but the Huskies would get no closer.
Alicja Wolny led off the bottom of the eighth with a base hit and Ruckenbrod followed with a walk. Fowler ripped a single past first base to bring Wolny home for the 3-2 win.
Caralisa Connell (22-2) got the win, allowing two earned runs on six hits and striking out seven in 8.0 innings. Whitney Arion was 3 for 3 to lead the Cardinals at the plate. Soles finished 2 for 3 with an RBI.
Callahan (1-2) took the loss, giving up one earned run on two hits in 1.0 innings of relief. Silva was 1 for 3 with a run and an RBI.
Louisville 8 – Connecticut 0 (6 innings)
In game two, Rachel LeCoq notched her sixth shutout of the season and junior Jasmine Smithson-Willett was 2 for 3 with a triple, a home run, two runs and two RBIs to lead the Cardinals to an 8-0 win and clinch the series.
After a scoreless first inning, the Cardinals used four hits and an error to put up four runs in the second. Whitney Arion registered a leadoff double and came home when Jordan Trimbles reached on an error. One out later, Fowler’s single scored Trimble and Smithson-Willett followed with a triple to give Louisville a 4-0 lead.
The third inning brought two more runs sparked by doubles from Maggie Ruckenbrod, Trimble and Fowler to make the score 6-0.
Smithson-Willett led off the bottom of the sixth with her second home run of the season to give the Cards a 7-0 lead. Alicja Wolny earned a two-out walk. Pinch-runner Chrisanna Robert s moved around to third on Ruckenbrod’s third hit of the game and scored on a wild pitch to give Louisville the 8-0 win.
LeCoq struck out seven and gave up six hits to improve to 14-4 on the season. Ruckenbrod was 3 for 4 with a double and a run while Fowler was 2 for 3 with a double, two RBIs and a run.
Kiki Saveriano (11-8) took the loss, allowing six runs, four earned, on eight hits and striking out two in 5.0 innings. Maddy Schiappa led the Huskies offensively with a 2 for 3 performance at the plate.