LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The No. 13 University of Louisville softball team built a 5-1 lead and withstood a three-run rally in the seventh to beat No. 14 Michigan 5-4 Friday at Ulmer Stadium in the Red & Black Classic. Louisville (17-3) will face Miami at 2:30 p.m. and Austin Peay at 5 p.m. Saturday.
“I thought we did came out and were aggressive offensively and we needed that,” said U of L head coach Sandy Pearsall. “Great job by the pitching staff and the defense, holding on at the end. Michigan is always a tough team to stop in the seventh inning.”
The teams played through four scoreless innings before the Wolverines broke through with a run in the top of the fifth. Sara Driesenga led off the frame with a single and took second on sacrifice bunt by Caitlin Blanchard. Sierra Lawrence followed with a bloop single to score Brandi Virgil from second. A bunt by Ashley Lane and an infield single by Jaclyn Crummey loaded the bases with two outs, but Louisville starting pitcher Caralisa Connell got Lyndsay Doyle to ground out to end the inning.
The Cardinals answered with a pair of runs in the home half of the fifth. Singles by Jordan Trimble and Katie Keller opened the inning. Katelyn Mann’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners and an intentional walk to Wolny loaded the bases with one out. Maggie Ruckenbrod sent a two-run double to left field to give Louisville a 2-1 lead.
Louisville added three more runs in the sixth. Whitney Arion led off the inning with a hit and took second on a throwing error. Esteban drew a walk and Keller’s RBI single gave the Cards 3-1 lead. Wolny connected on two-out, two-run single to make the score 5-1.
Michigan rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh. Sierra Lawrence delivered a leadoff hit and Ashley Lane followed with a home to pull with Wolverines within two runs. Crummey singled and came home on a double by Amy Knapp to make it 5-4 game. Reliever Rachel LeCoq dealt a strikeout for the first out of the inning. A fielder’s choice sent Knapp to third with two outs. A groundout ended the game.
Connell (10-2) got the win, allowing three earned runs on seven hits and striking out two in 6.0 innings. LeCoq picked up her first save of the season. Wolny was 1 for 1 with two RBIs. Keller was 2 for 3 with two runs and an RBI.
Driesenga (13-5) took the loss, allowing five earned runs on seven hits and striking out four in six innings. Lane led the Wolverines with a 2 for 3, three RBI, one run performance at the plate.