Feb. 9, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - -
Junior Kristi Cunningham went 3 for 4 with two home runs as the University of Louisville softball team defeated Southern Miss 5-1 Saturday on the second day of the Florida State Early Bird tournament.
"The second day is always more difficult," said U of L head coach Sandy Pearsall. "The adrenaline has taken its toll and teams are usually tired. I was pleased with the intensity of the team. I thought Kristi Cunningham had one of her best offensive games. As a team we need to be more aggressive at the plate - we are taking too many strikes and putting ourselves in bad count situations."
The Cardinals started the scoring early, capitalizing on three walks and Kaylyn Castillo's single to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Kassie Stanfill's bases-loaded walk plated leadoff batter Melissa Roth to put Louisville on the scoreboard.
The Golden Eagles answered in the home half of the inning. Allison Bullard walked, took second on Megan Hill's groundout and came home on a base hit by Jennifer Fox to even the score at 1-1.
U of L pulled ahead 2-1 in the second when Kristen Wadwell led off with a single and scored on Sarah Totten's double down the left field line.
Kristi Cunningham led off the third with a solo shot over the left field fence to increase the lead to 3-1.
The Cards tacked on another run in the fourth when Roth drew a leadoff walk, stole second, took third on Totten's groundout and crossed the plate on Castillo's suicide squeeze to make to a 4-1 game.
Southern Miss had an opportunity to score in the sixth when Kristin Pilgrim reached on an error and Brandi Alonzo was safe on an infield single to place runners on the corners with two outs. Louisville reliever Mandi Rodriguez
retired the last batter to get out of the inning.
Cunningham delivered her second solo home run of the game to leadoff the seventh for the 5-1 final.
Louisville starter Kristen Wadwell (1-0) got the win, holding Southern Miss to one earned run on two hits and striking out four in four innings. Rodriguez gave up one hit in two innings. Stanfill did not allow a hit in the seventh inning. Offensively, the Cards had 10 hits in the game and were paced by Cunningham's 3 for 4 performance at the plate. Cheseas Bemis went 2 for 3 with an RBI.
Lana Vaughn (1-1) took the loss, giving up five earned runs and striking out five. Fox, Logan James and Brandi Alonzo each had a hit for Southern Miss.
U of L (3-0) earned the tournament's No. 1 seed and will play the second-seeded team in Saturday's championship game at 4:45 p.m.