LOUISVILLE, Ky. – First baseman Alicja Wolny had four hits and catcher Maggie Ruckenbrod hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh as the No. 11/11 University of Louisville softball team beat visiting No. 24 North Carolina 4-2 in the first game as part of the Louisville Classic Friday afternoon at Ulmer Stadium. In the second game of the day, pitcher Caralisa Connell tossed a two-hitter to help the Cards beat Eastern Michigan 6-1. The Cardinals improve to 22-3 on the season.
“We were really happy to come away with two wins today,” said U of L head coach Sandy Pearsall. “I thought Rachel LeCoq came in and pitched well against North Carolina and Caralisa had good results in the Eastern Michigan. Maggie Ruckenbrod came through for us today with a big hit against North Carolina and Alicja Wolny also had a great day at the plate.”
Louisville 4 – North Carolina 2
In the first game, U of L had four runs on seven hits with four walks with pitcher Rachel LeCoq earning the win to push her record to 9-1 after relieving starter Caralisa Connell with one out in the first. UNC starter, Lori Spingola (11-6) took the loss, giving up seven hits and four earned runs. Wolny went 4 for 4 with an RBI. The homer was Ruckenbrod’s only hit. The Heels were led by third baseman Constance Orr’s two for three performance at the plate.
The Tar Heels (18-9) struck in the first when Erin Satterfield walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch by Connell and then scored on a single by Haleigh Dickey. The Cardinals answered in their half of the first when Katie Keller led off with a walk, advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Jordan Trimble and then scored on an error by UNC shortstop Kristen Brown.
Louisville broke the tie in the bottom of the third when Keller was hit by a pitch and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Trimble and then scored on a single by Alicja Wolny to make the score 2-1.
The Tar Heels went down in order in the fourth and fifth before tying the game in the sixth. Third basemen Constance Orr tripled and then came home on an error to knot the game at 2-2.
Wolny led off the seventh with her fourth hit of the game, singling to left center to set up catcher Maggie Ruckenbrod fourth homer of the season for the 4-2 final.
Louisville 6 – Eastern Michigan 1
In the second game, Jordan Trimble went 3-for-4 with a homer, two runs and two RBI to lead the Cards offensively. Shortstop Whitney Arion was 2 for 2 with a pair of runs. U of L had 10 hits and just one strikeout in the win. Eastern Michigan starter Jenna Ignowski (4-2) took the loss to move to 4-2. Connell held the Eagles (8-10) to two hits, struck out 10 and walked just one EMU batter.
The Cards scored in the first on a solo home run by Jordan Trimble. U of L struck again in the fourth when Arion reached on a single and advanced to second on a ground out by Taner Fowler before scoring on an RBI single by Smithson-Willett.
U of L added a run in the fifth when Jordan Trimble doubled to lead off and then scored on a double by Maggie Ruckenbrod. The Cards added a three-spot in the sixth with Keller, Arion and Smithson-Willett all scoring in a three hit inning.
Connell (14-2) had a no-hitter going into the top of the final inning but Courtney Nicholson blooped a leadoff single up the middle, then scored on a double by Amanda Herron but that was all the offense the Eagles could muster against a composed Connell.
The Cards are back in action Sunday at 10 a.m. against Wisconsin as the Louisville Classic continues.