On a wet and rainy Sunday morning, the No. 9 Louisville Cardinals completed a three-game sweep of the softball team, using a five run fifth inning to beat the Pirates 6-2, dropping the Pirates to a record of 20-25 and 2-12 in the Big East.
The Cardinals struck fast in the series finale, as left fielder Jennifer Esteban scored on a sacrifice fly from first baseman Alicia Wolny in the top of the first inning.
In the next inning, leadoff hitter and second baseman Maria DeLuca singled to right field.
Leftfielder Laura Canulli bunted a singled and advanced DeLuca to second. Pitcher Danielle DeStaso slapped a single to right field, loading the bases.
First baseman Kristen Kaelin drew a walk, scoring DeLuca.
Third baseman Meredith Henze singled up the middle to score Canulli to take a 2-1 lead, and in the process knocked Louisville pitcher Caralisa Connell out of the game.
Relief pitcher Tori Collins pitched her way out of a jam without giving up another hit, while striking out two batters.
In the top of the fifth inning, DeStaso allowed five runs all of which came from home runs. Shortstop Whitney Arion smacked a two-run homer to left field, and second baseman Keller hit a three-run homer to right field.
Head coach Ray Vander May said the weather could have been a problem in the fifth inning for DeStaso, but does not want that to be the only reason.
“There you might have had some weather issues, she started to slip on the mound a little a bit, so to give her the benefit of the doubt that could be,” Vander May said. “Really, you want to toughen up your pitchers up and give them no excuses.”
Collins pitched lights out for Louisville, going seventh inning and giving up only one hit to designated hitter Kirby Groves in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“We didn’t hold on, but we battled,” Vander May said. “We competed. This is a very good team we faced, a very good team. We scored against ’em and we got runs on the board.”
The teams played a double header on Saturday, in which Louisville scored 6 runs in each game. The Pirates committed a combined 10 errors in both games.
In the second game, The Pirates gave up four runs in the top of the second inning, all of which were unearned.
Of the six runs the Cardinals scored, five were unearned. The only run charged to a Pirate pitcher came in the top of the fifth on a groundout from Jordan Trimble.
The first game of the series was much of the same, as only three of Louisville’s six runs scored were earned.
In the top of the second inning designated hitter Taner Fowler belted a homerun down the left field line to take a 2-1 lead.
The Pirates took 3-2 lead in the third inning, after Kaelin hit a two-run home run to center field.
A leadoff home run from Fowler started a four-run sixth inning for the Cardinals to take a 6-3 lead.
According to Vander May, he is confident about his team because of how they played against nationally ranked Louisville
Vander May said now the team has to collect themselves mentally for the remainder of the season.
“We just have to have a mind set now,” Vander May said. “We have to have an attitude to win some of these games.”
The Pirates return to action on Wednesday for a mid-week double header against Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.