May 2, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - -
The No. 8/9 University of Louisville softball team fell 8-1 to No. 5/7 Tennessee Wednesday evening at Lee Softball Stadium. In a game that featured a matchup between two top-10 teams with the longest winning streaks in the top 25, the Lady Vols (45-9) increased their streak to 18, while the Cards (47-3) ended theirs at 18 in only their third loss of the season.
"We clearly did not come to play today and you cannot do that against a team of Tennessee's caliber," said head coach Sandy Pearsall. "The only bright spots in today's game came from Caralisa Connell's pitching and Maggie Ruckenbrod's catching."
The Lady Vols wasted no time getting on the scoreboard when Lauren Gibson took a 3-2 count over the centerfield fence to lead off the bottom of the first.
The Cardinals answered in the top of the second when junior Alicja Wolny was hit by a pitch and took second on sophomore Taner Fowler's groundout. Sophomore Maggie Ruckenbrod connected on an RBI single to tie the game at 1-1.
The Lady Vols used four hits and an error to put up a four-spot in the third. Ashley Andrews was safe on an infield single, took second on a sacrifice bunt by Tory Lewis. Gibson reached on an error to place runners on the corners for Dotson's RBI double. A single by Madison Shipman brought an unearned run home. Shelby Burchell's two-run triple pushed the lead to 5-1.
The fifth inning brought two more Tennessee unearned runs, courtesy of two Cardinal errors. Baker reached on a one-out walk. An error on Melissa Davin's fielder's choice placed two runners in scoring position for Hannah Akamine whose two-run single made the score 7-1.
Melissa Brown's two-out RBI double increased Tennessee's lead to 8-1 in the bottom of the sixth.
Louisville had a chance to score in the sixth when freshman Whitney Arion drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a wild pitch, she tried to score on when junior Jennifer Esteban followed with a single, but Tennessee centerfielder Tory Lewis fired a perfect throw catcher Hannah Akamine to tag her out at the plate.
Chelsea Leonard (8-1) took the loss, allowing four runs, three earned on four hits and striking out one in 1.0 innings of relief. Starter Tori Collins gave up one earned run on two hits and struck out one in 2.0 innings. Caralisa Connell gave up three runs, one earned on four hits in 3.0 innings of relief. Ruckenbrod was 1 for 2 with an RBI. The sophomore catcher picked off a runner and caught two stealing in a stellar defensive effort behind the plate.
Ivy Renfroe (19-6) picked up the win, allowing one earned run on two hits and striking out five in a complete game effort. Ten Lady Vol batters had a hit with Burchell and Akaminec each driving in two runs.