April 25, 2012
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - -
Sophomore Katie Keller's two-run home run in the fifth broke a 4-4 tie to lift the ninth-ranked University of Louisville softball team to a 6-4 win over host Indiana (23-23) Wednesday afternoon.
"I thought Caralisa Connell did a great job of coming in and shutting Indiana down when we needed her," said U of L head coach Sandy Pearsall. "We had some good offense and Katie Keller really came through for us in the clutch."
The teams played through two scoreless innings before the Cards broke through with four runs in the third. Sophomore Maggie Ruckenbrod registered the first hit of the game when she ripped a double down the left field line. Freshman Whitney Arion followed with a single and stole second. An error on the throw sent Ruckenbrod home to put Louisville on the scoreboard. Junior Jennifer Esteban reached on a fielder's choice which saw Arion safe on a play at third. Senior Kristin Austin stepped up to the plate and delivered her team-leading eighth triple of the season to make the score 3-0. Sophomore Katie Keller's sacrifice fly plated Austin to increase the lead to 4-0.
The Hoosiers quickly responded with four runs in the home half of the third. Meaghan Murphy led off with a double and Jenna Abraham follows with a home run to cut the lead to 4-2. One out later, Shannon Cawley reached on an error and Amanda Wagner homered to even the score at 4-4.
The Cardinals pulled back ahead behind Keller's two-run home run in the fifth. Esteban singled and with two outs in the inning, Keller powered her seventh homer of the season, which hit the scoreboard in left field to make the score 6-4.
Indiana had a scoring opportunity in the sixth when Amanda Wagner drew a walk and an error allowed Brianna Meyer to reach to place two runners on with no outs. Connell delivered a strikeout and got Shelby Gogreve to ground out, but both runners moved into scoring position. Connell registered her third strikeout of the game to end the inning.
Caralisa Connell (15-1) did not give up a hit and only walked one batter while striking out four in 4.2 innings of relief. Keller went 1 for 3 with three RBIs. Esteban was 2 for 4 with two runs and Austin was 1 for 4 with two RBIs and a run.
Murphy (10-10) took the loss, allowing six runs, five earned, on eight hits and striking out two in 7.0 innings of work. Wagner was 1 for 2 with two RBIs and Abraham was 1 for 3 with two RBIs.
U of L (44-2) will return to Ulmer Stadium to wrap up play at home. The teams will meet in a doubleheader at 2 p.m. Saturday. Prior to Sunday's 1 p.m. game the Cardinals will honor seniors Kristin Austin, Tori Collins and Tesha Paysen in their regular season home finale. As a class, they have won 171 games - the most of any class in program history. As freshmen, they helped set a school record with 48 wins and as seniors, they are on track to break that record with 44 wins. They have made three straight NCAA regional appearances and posted two runner-up finishes in the BIG EAST Conference championship.