April 22, 2012
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - -
The No. 9 University of Louisville softball team used home runs from freshman Whitney Arion and sophomore Katie Keller in a five-run fifth inning to overcome a 2-1 deficit and defeat host Seton Hall 6-2 Sunday afternoon. With the three game sweep, the Cards improve to 43-2 and 14-2 in BIG EAST play while the Pirates drop to 20-25 (2-12).
"Seton Hall came ready to play this weekend," said U of L head coach Sandy Pearsall. "They were agressive swinging the bat, and their pitcher did a great job of controlling our offense. I thought Caralisa pitched well yesterday and Tori did a great job today. Our defense was tested often and we were solid. I was also pleased with how our offense came through with some big hits."
As the game started, a steady rain began to fall and would continue throughout the game. Louisville jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when junior Jennifer Esteban connected on a leadoff double, took third on a wild pitch and came home on junior Alicja Wolny's sacrifice fly.
The Pirates answered with a pair of runs in the home half of the inning. Maria DeLuca Laura Canulli and Danielle DeStaso delivered three straight hits to load the bases for Kristen Kaelin who drew a walk to plate DeLuca and even the score at 1-1. Meredith Henze followed with an RBI single to send Canulli home and give the Pirates a 2-1 lead. With the bases loaded and no outs, senior Tori Collins entered the game to relieve sophomore Caralisa Connell. The lefty dealt a strikeout, a line out to right field and another strikeout to get out of the jam.
Seton Hall carried the 2-1 lead until the fifth inning when Louisville used five hits, including home runs from Arion and Keller take a 6-2 lead. Sophomore Maggie
Ruckenbrod registered a one-out hit and Arion followed with a shot over left centerfield for her sixth home run of the season to put the Cards back on top 3-2. Esteban and senior Kristin Austin
then connected on back-to-back singles and Keller took her first pitch over the fence in right centerfield for her sixth homer of the season.
Collins gave up her first hit of the game in the top of the seventh when Kirby Groves was safe on a leadoff infield single. DeLuca walked to place two runners on, but Collins and the Cardinal defense retired the next three batters to get the 6-2 victory.
Collins (21-1) held the Pirates in check, striking out 10 and surrendering only one hit while walking two in 7.0 innings. Keller was 1 for 2 with a home run and three RBIs while Arion was 1 for 2 with a home run and two RBIS. Esteban and Arion each went 2 for 4.
DeStaso (5-10) took the loss, giving up six earned runs on six hits and striking out two in 5.2 innings.
Louisville will travel to Bloomington, Ind. for a single game against Indiana Wednesday at 2 p.m.