ORLANDO, Fla. –Maggie Ruckenbrod was 2 for 4 with a home run and three RBIs and a run and Katie Keller was 2 for 2 with two runs and an RBI while Rachel LeCoq tossed 5.1 scoreless innings to lead the No. 15/16 University of Louisville softball team to a 6-2 win over No. 11/11 LSU Sunday in the final game of the Citrus Classic. The Cardinals improve to 16-3.
“This was great day for Cardinal softball,” said U of L head coach Sandy Pearsall. “I thought our team did a tremendous job and really came ready to play. A big key to the win was Rachel LeCoq shutting down LSU. I also thought we had great offense throughout out our lineup.”
The Tigers (17-4) jumped to 2-0 lead in the second when walks issued to Bianka Bell, Rikki Alcaraz and Tammy Wray loaded the bases with one out for Wray who also drew a walk to plate Bell. A wild pitch sent Alacaraz home. After another walk loaded the bases, LeCoq entered the game and delivered a strikeout to end the inning.
The Cardinals answered with two runs in the top of the third. Katie Keller delivered a one-out single and took second on Katelyn Mann’s sacrifice bunt and came around to score on Alicja Wolny’s double. Maggie Ruckenbrod followed with a single to bring Wolny home and tie the game at 2-2.
Louisville pulled ahead in the fifth when Keller led off with a walk and moved to second on Mann’s sacrifice bunt. Wolny was safe on an infield single to place runners on the corners for Maggie Ruckenbrod who reached on an RBI fielder’s choice to give the Cards 3-2 lead.
The Cards used four hits to score two more runs in the top of the sixth. Hannah Kiyohara led off the frame with a hit and took second on an error. Two outs later, she came around to score on Jennifer Esteban’s RBI single. Keller followed with a hit to bring Esteban home to make the score 5-2.
Ruckenbrod led off the seventh with a shot over the left centerfield fence for her first home run of the season to increase Louisville’s lead to 6-2.
LeCoq (7-1) got the win, holding the Tigers scoreless on three hits and striking out three in 5.1 innings of relief. After surrendering back-to-back two-out infield singles in the fifth, she retired the final seven batters of the game. Louisville outhit LSU 11-3 in the game.
Rachele Fico (10-3) took the loss, allowing six earned runs on 11 hits and striking out 10 in 7.0 innings. Allison Falcon went 2 for 3 to lead the Tigers offensively.
The Cardinals will play host to Michigan, Miami (Ohio), Austin Peay and Illinois State in the Red & Black Classic March 8-10 at Ulmer Stadium.
NOTE: The win over No. 11/11 LSU marks the Cards’ highest ranked win since defeating No. 7/8 Northwestern on March 23, 2007.