LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The No. 12 University of Louisville softball team built a 4-1 lead, but couldn’t hold on as UAB rallied for four runs in the fifth and two in the six to defeat the host Cardinals 7-4 Saturday’s first game of the Louisville Regional. The Cardinals (47-12) will take on UCLA in an elimination game at approximately 8 p.m. Saturday.
The Cards struck early with two runs in the top of the first. Katie Keller led off the game with a walk and one out later Alicja Wolny crushed a shot over the right field fence for her 11th home run of the season to give her team a 2-0 lead.
The Blazers got a run back in the bottom of the fourth when Kristen McGrath and Anna Kimbrell delivered back-to-back two-out singles. Chandler Orr delivered a double which sent McGrath home. Kimbrell attempted to score, but Louisville centerfield Jordan Trimble combined with shortstop Whitney Arion, catcher Maggie Ruckenbrod and third baseman Katelyn Mann to tag her out at third to keep the score at 2-1.
Louisville increased its lead with two runs in the fifth. Keller drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on back-to-back errors. Wolny’s RBI single gave the Cards a 3-1 lead. Jordan Trimble sent a hit to centerfield to push Wolny to third. Katelyn Mann reached on a fielder’s choice to bring Wolny home and increase the lead to 4-1.
UAB answered with four runs in the fifth to take a 5-4 lead. Hayley Davis drew a leadoff walk. Singles by Amy Dennis and Caitlin Attfield loaded the bases for Heather Pearson who was hit by a pitch to bring Davis home. Whitney Fletcher’s sacrifice fly pulled the Mastodons within a run. An error sent Attfield home to tie the game and McGrath’s RBI hit put UAB on top.
Louisville had an opportunity to push a run across in top of the sixth when Whitney Arion delivered a leadoff hit and took second on Jennifer Esteban’s sacrifice bunt. Keller followed with a single and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Wolny was intentionally walked to load the bases with two outs, but UAB reliever Lannah Campbell got Ruckenbrod to fly out to centerfield to hold the Cards at bay.
The Blazers added two more runs in the sixth when Dennis was hit by a pitch and Attfield singled to place two runners on for Fletcher’s triple which made the score 7-4.
The Cards had one last chance to score in the top of the seventh when Katelyn Mann registered a one-out single, took second on Kayla Soles’ groundout. Arion’s single placed runners on the corners and brought the tying run to the plate, but Campbell got Esteban to groundout to end the game.
LeCoq (22-8) took the loss, allowing six earned runs on 10 hits and striking out four in 6.0 innings. Wolny was 3 for 3 with three RBIs and two runs to lead the Cards at the plate. Trimble and Mann had two hits apiece and Keller was 1 for 2 with two runs.
Campbell (14-5) took the loss, allowing two earned runs on three hits and striking out five in 6.0 innings of relief. Fletcher was 1 for 3 with three RBIs and Attfield was 2 for 4 with two runs.