After spending 14 games on the road playing some of the toughest competition that the NCAA has to offer the Louisville softball team finally got to come home to Ulmer Stadium. The Cards hosted the Red and Black Tournament over the chilly weekend, welcoming Indiana State, Bowling Green, and Wisconsin- Green Bay.
Day One Louisville defeated Indiana State 14-6. Tiarra Sanabria's walk-off two run home run gave the Cards the victory in five innings of play. Under NCAA softball rules there is an eight run mercy rule after five innings of play. Nicole Pufahl highlighted the game by going 4-for-4 and recording seven RBI. U of L batted .500 on the game.
In their second game of the day the Cards defeated Wisconsin- Green Bay 8-0 after a walk-off single by Caitlin Ferguson. The play was controversial, but stood after a brief discussion by the umpire crew. Ferguson led the way with three RBI and Pufahl had two RBI, giving her nine on the day.
Day Two The Cards faced Wisconsin- Green Bay in a rematch and held onto a 4-3 win in their first full game of the weekend. Going into the seventh inning U of L led 4-1, but a couple of infield errors allowed the Phoenix to bring the tying run to third base and the go ahead run to second. Megan Hensley shut the remaining two batters down with a strikeout and ground out. Freshman pitcher Sydney Warinner got the start and pitched for a little over two innings.
Their second game of the day featured a match-up against Bowling Green State University. U of L won the game 1-0, thanks to a solo home run by Maryssa Becker. Becker also threw a shutout on the mound in another close game for the Cards. Day Three The final game of the tournament was another game against Indiana State. The Sycamores from Terre Haute outlasted the Cards in extra innings 8-6. Louisville had an early 3-0 thanks to a home run by Pufahl and a few base hits, but has to play catch up to take the game into extra innings. Multiple infield errors by the defense helped Indiana State score three in the eighth inning to win.
Louisville's record is now 12-7 on the season.
Takeaways The Cards have one of the top pitchers in the country in Maryssa Becker. However, she cannot be expected to pitch every inning of every game. Hensley struggled over the weekend and Coach Pearsall did not gives fans much time to see the freshman Warinner pitch.
The offense can be spectacular when they hit the ball. Numerous players have recorded home runs on the season. Last year Becker and Hensley were some of the top players in the RBI category.
Mental errors have played a crucial role in all of the losses this season. The stat sheet may only show one or two per game, but the bobbled ball or fly ball dropping between players is an error in my book. The team did not have their heads in the game during Sunday's loss and it was noticeable.
Louisville hosts the Cardinal Challenge Tournament next weekend.