LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Junior Taner Fowler had two home runs and five RBIs while junior Caralisa Connell tossed a one-hit shutout as the No. 11 University of Louisville softball team defeated Syracuse 9-0 in five innings to clinch its BIG EAST opening series Saturday afternoon at Ulmer Stadium. U of L improves to 28-6, 2-1 BIG EAST) while Syracuse drops to 12-16 (1-2).
“I think we really came out in the first inning and set the tone the way we wanted to in the game and that’s something we didn’t do yesterday,” said U of L head coach Sandy Pearsall. “I’m really pleased with what our team did offensively in every inning of the game. “
After suffering their first conference loss in a 4-2 decision to the Orange on Friday, the Cards used seven hits, including a three-run homer by Fowler to jump to a 6-0 lead in the first inning of Saturday’s rubber game. Katie Keller led off the home half of the first with a hit and Jordan Trimble followed with a walk. Maggie Ruckenbrod’s RBI single sent Keller home to put Louisville on the scoreboard. One out later, Fowler’s fourth home run of the season added three more runs. Kayla Soles singled and took second on a wild pitch to set up Whitney Arion’s RBI single. After a hit by Jasmine Smithson-Willett, Keller stepped back up to the plate and delivered an RBI single to increase the lead to 6-0.
Fowler connected on her second home run of the game to make the score 8-0 in the second. Wolny was hit by a pitch and Fowler took a 1-1 pitch over the left field fence for her fifth homer of the season.
Louisville tacked on another run in the third when Smithson-Willett delivered a leadoff single, took second on a passed ball and came around to score on Trimble’s RBI hit for the 9-0 final.
Connell (18-2) got the complete game shutout, holding the Orange to one hit and striking out six in 5.0 innings. Fowler was 2 for 3 with two homers, five RBIs and two runs. Keller went 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI while Smithson-Willett finished the game batting 2 for 3 with a run.
“We had another great performance from Caralisa Connell and some timely defense and great catches out there - Chrisanna Roberts had a great diving catch in right field late in the game, ” said Pearsall. “Taner Fowler has truly found her rhythm again. She was struggling early in the season, but what better time than right now as we’re going into conference play and post season – this is what we want to see from her.”
Lindsay Taylor (4-12) took the loss after surrendering six earned runs on seven hits in the first inning. Reliever Stacy Kuwik allowed three runs, two earned, on three hits and struck out two in 3.1 innings. Mary Dombrowski accounted for the Orange’s only hit in the game.