May 5, 2012
QUEENS, N.Y. - -
The No. 8/9 University of Louisville softball team captured the regular season BIG EAST Conference title with a doubleheader sweep of host St. John's Saturday afternoon. The Cardinals defeated the Red Storm 15-4 and 8-4 to improve to 49-3 on the season and 19-2 in league play, establishing a new school record for single season wins set in 2009. Saturday's wins also marked head coach Sandy Pearsall's 500th victory at U of L since starting the program in 2000.
"Alicja Wolny did a great job offensively today, it was great to watch her," said U of L head coach Sandy Pearsall. "We got some timely hitting from a lot of players and we did what needed to be done to get two wins against a good-hitting St. John's team."
Louisville 15 - St. John's 4
In game one, the Cardinals scored 10 runs in the final two innings set season highs for runs and belted out a season-best 17 hits en route to a 15-4 win.
The Cards jumped on the scoreboard with three runs in the top of the first when junior Jennifer Esteban drew a leadoff walk and took second on sophomore Katie Keller's base hit. One out later, Fowler took a 1-2 pitch over the right field wall for her team-leading 10th home run of the season.
St. John's got a run back in the home half of the first when Chrissy Montez reached on an error and took second on Kelsey Moyer's sacrifice bunt. Jackie Reed's RBI single brought Montez home to make the score 3-1.
Louisville extended the lead to 5-1 behind freshman Kayla Soles' two-run double in the fifth. Fowler reached on a fielder's choice and took third on sophomore Maggie Ruckenbrod's two-out single. Soles followed with a double to bring both runners home.
The Cardinals used five hits and two walks to erupt for six runs in the sixth. Esteban drew a leadoff walk and senior Kristin followed with a hit. Wolny's one-out double plated both runners. Fowler connected on an RBI single and Trimble's sacrifice fly brought Austin home. Soles stepped up to deliver her second double of the day to score Fowler. Freshman Whitney Arion
capped the inning with a two-run single to make it an 11-1 game.
The Red Storm capitalized on four hits to score three runs in the bottom of the sixth. Kacee Cox registered a one-out single and was lifted for pinch-runner Ellen Czuba. Reed followed with a single to put two on for Julia Sanchez's RBI hit. Neuroth's two-run single made the score 11-4.
The Cards put up a four-spot of their own in the top of the seventh. Esteban led off the frame with a single and Austin's double pushed her to third. Keller delivered an RBI single to increase the lead to 12-4. Wolny smashed her sixth home run of the season over right field for the 15-4 final.
Sophomore Caralisa Connell (17-1) got the win, allowing four runs, three earned on six hits in 6.1 innings. Senior Tori Collins gave up one hit and retired two in the seventh. Soles was 3 for 4 with two doubles and three RBIs to pace the Cards at the plate. Fowler went 2 for 4 with a home run, four RBIs and three runs. Wolny was also 2 for 4 with a home run, a double, four RBIs and two runs. Each batter in the Cardinal starting lineup had at least one hit in the game.
Fran Carrullo (7-8) took the loss, allowing three earned runs on four hits and striking out one in one inning. Cady was 2 for 3 and Reed was 2 for 4 to lead St. John's offensively.
Louisville 8 - St. John's 4
In game two, Wolny went 3 for 4 with a home run and two RBIs and Fowler added her team-leading 11th home run of the season as the Cards defeated the Red Storm 8-4 to clinch the series and the regular season conference title.
The Cardinals picked up where they left off in game one with two runs in the first. Austin registered a one-out single and scored on Keller's double. Wolny's RBI hit plated Keller to give Louisville a 2-0 lead.
The Red Storm used a hit, an error and a sacrifice fly to even the score in the third. Chrissy Montez singled and Erin Czuba followed with an infield hit. An error sent Montez home and Czuba to third. Erin Burner's sacrifice fly tied the game at 2-2.
Fowler led off the fourth with a towering shot over centerfield to put the Cards back on top 3-2. Trimble walked and moved to second on junior Katelyn Mann's sacrifice bunt. Ruckenbrod's hit placed runners on the corners and she took second on a wild pitch. An error sent Trimble home and Ruckenbrod crossed the plate on Esteban's groundout to make the score 5-2.
Wolny led off the fifth with her second home run of the day and seventh of the season to increase the lead to 6-2.
St. John's got a run back in the home half of the inning when Montez registered a leadoff single and stole second and scored on Burner's RBI hit to make it a 6-3 game.
The Red Storm cut the lead to two runs behind Montez's two-out RBI double. MacKenna Neuroth connected on a two-out hit to set up the double which made the score 6-4.
The Cards tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Wolny led off the frame with a single and was lifted for pinch-runner Kirsten Straley who moved around to third on an error after Fowler's infield single. Trimble's infield hit brought Straley home. Ruckenbrod's sacrifice fly plated pinch-runner Tesha Paysen for the 8-4 final.
Sophomore Chelsea Leonard (9-1) got the win, allowing two unearned runs on five hits and striking out seven in 5.0 innings.
The teams will conclude the regular season Sunday at noon.
NOTE: The marks Louisville's second BIG EAST Conference regular season title with their first one coming in 2006. The Cardinals won the 2007 tournament at Notre Dame.