LAS VEGAS – Junior Katie Keller tied a school record with seven RBIs and had two home runs and Katelyn Mann went 4 for 4 with one homer as the No. 18 University of Louisville softball team used a program-record 21 hits to beat Minnesota 16-8 in six innings Sunday at the UNLV Sportco Kick-Off Classic.
The Cards (4-1) jumped to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when Whitney Arion delivered a two-out, bases-loaded RBI single to score Alicja Wolny who had reached on a fielder’s choice.
The Golden Gophers (0-3) answered with four runs in the bottom of the first. Tyler Walker drew a leadoff walk and was safe at second on an error when Erica Meyer reached on a fielder’s choice. Both runners scored on Kaitlyn Richardson’s double. Two outs later, Brandi McGregor’s home run gave Minnesota a 4-1 lead.
Louisville answered with a five spot in the top of the second. Katelyn Mann got the inning started with a base hit and moved to third on Maggie Ruckenbrod’s double. Jasmine Smithson-Willett walked to load the bases. Mann was out at the plate on Jennifer Esteban’s fielder’s choice, but Katie Keller drew a walk to bring Ruckenbrod home. Wolny’s sacrifice fly plated Smithson-Willett to pull the Cards within a run. Taner Fowler’s first home run of the season, a shot over centerfield, gave Louisville a 6-4 lead.
A two-run homer by Bree Blanchett tied the game at 6-6 in the bottom of the third.
The Cards quickly regained the lead when Keller connected on her third home run of the season to lead off the fourth to make the score 7-6.
Louisville tallied four more runs in the fifth. Arion led off with a single, moved around to third on hits by Mann and Ruckenbrod. Keller sent a two-out, two-run double to the right field fence to increase the lead to 10-6. After a hit by Wolny, Fowler’s RBI single made the score 11-6.
The Cardinals used home runs from Mann and Keller to put up another five spot in the sixth. Mann’s two-run shot over the left field fence increased the lead to 13-6. Arion started the inning with a single and Mann took the first pitch of her at bat over the left field wall for her fourth hit of the game. One out later, Smithson-Willett and Kayla Soles drew back-to-back walks to set up Keller’s shot over the right field fence. Her second home run of the game and team-best fourth of the season gave Louisville a 16-6 lead.
But the scoring was not over as Minnesota added a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth. Meyer delivered a two-out single and Richardson connected on the seventh home run of the game for the 16-8 final.
Caralisa Connell (2-1) got the win, allowing four earned runs on five hits and striking out two in 4.1 innings of relief. Mann was 4 for 4 with a home run, two RBIs and two runs. Keller was 3 for 4 with two homers, a double, seven RBIs and four runs. Fowler was 3 for 4 with a home run and four RBIs. Trimble was 3 for 4.
Kelsey Kimminau (0-1) took the loss, giving up five earned runs on six hits in 2.2 innings of relief. Richardson was 3 for 4 with a home run and four RBIs.
U of L will head to Jacksonville, Fla., for the Jacksonville University Tournament next weekend.