LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The No. 11 University of Louisville softball team split a doubleheader with visiting Syracuse Friday afternoon at Ulmer Stadium. The Cards (27-5, 1-1) took the first game 8-1 while Syracuse (12-15, 1-1) won the second 4-2. The teams will meet in the rubber game Saturday at 12 p.m.
Louisville 8 – Syracuse 1
Junior Caralisa Connell registered a season-high 11 strikeouts, including seven-straight to finish the game, and junior Katie Keller was 3 for 4 with a home run and three RBIs to lead the Cards to an 8-1 win over Syracuse in both teams’ BIG EAST opener.
After two scoreless innings, Syracuse struck with a run in the third. Shirley Daniels registered a one-out hit, stole second and came around to score on Jasmine Watson’s two-out double.
The Cards answered with five runs in the bottom of the fifth. Kayla Soles reached on a two-base error and Taner Fowler followed with a shot over the left field fence for her third home run of the season to give Louisville a 2-1 lead. Jasmine Smithson-Willett and Katie Keller registered back-to-back singles and both advanced on Jordan Trimble’s sacrifice bunt. RBI singles by Alicja Wolny, Hannah
Kiyohara and a double by Whitney Arion made the score 5-1.
Keller’s three-run homer in the sixth gave the Cards an 8-1 lead. Fowler led off the inning with a single and Smithson-Willett followed with a walk to set up Keller’s team-best eighth home run of the season.
Connell improved to 17-2 on the season, scattering two hits and two walks while fanning 11 in a complete game effort. Fowler was 2 for 3 with a home run, two RBIs an d two runs.
Lindsay Taylor (4-11) took the loss, allowing five runs, two earned, on eight hits and striking out two in 5.0 innings. Daniels and Watson recorded the only hits for Syracuse.
Syracuse 4 – Louisville 2
In game two, senior Alicja Wolny went 3 for 3 with two RBIs but the Cards could not overcome a 4-0 lead built by Syracuse.
The Orange jumped to an early lead with a pair of runs in the first Morgan Nandin delivered a one-out single and moved to third on Jasmine Watson’s double. Back-to-back hits by Corinne Ozanne and Julie Wambold gave Syracuse a 2-0 lead.
Syracuse added two more runs in the fourth when Danielle Chitkowski reached on a fielder’s choice to set up Mary Dombrowski’s two-run shot over right centerfield to make the score 4-0.
The Cards got on the scoreboard in the sixth when Katelyn Mann led off with a bunt single and moved to second when Maggie Ruckenbrod drew a two-out walk. Alicja Wolny followed with a two-run double to cut the lead to 4-2.
Louisville had a chance to add more runs in the bottom of the seventh when Hannah Kiyohara drew a leadoff walk to bring the tying run to the plate. Pinch-runner Brittany Sims took second on Kayla Soles’ groundout and moved to third on a wild pitch, but Syracuse reliever Lindsay Taylor got Katelyn Mann to flyout to deep centerfield to end the game.
Rachel LeCoq (10-4) took the loss, allowing four earned runs on seven hits and striking out two in 4.1 innings. Connell was strong in relief, striking out seven of the eight batters she faced in 2.2 innings. She entered the game in the fifth inning and struck out the first six batters, running her streak of strikeouts to 13 straight, before issuing a walk in the seventh. She fired another K to end her day.
Stacy Kuwik (7-4) got the win, allowing two earned runs on five hits in 6.0 innings. Lindsay Taylor held the Cards scoreless in the seventh to earn the save. Nandin and Wambold each had two hits for the Orange.