By Paul Sykes
A sloppy fifth inning cost the University of Louisville softball team a chance to play in the finals of the Big East Tournament with Notre Dame parlaying three Cardinal fielding errors into three runs and a 3-0 win over the Cards.
The Irish benefited from third baseman Chelsa Bemis’ bobble of a grounder by leadoff hitter Alexa Maldonado. Kristen Wadwell struck out the next hitter, but Linda Kohan smashed a deep fly to center that fielder Kristi Cunningham misjudged, sending Maldonado home. Wadwell got another strikeout, but an error by Heather Johnson allowed Kohan to score the second Irish run. The Irish added their final run off a Dani Miller double to right.
- Another great pitching performance by UofL’s Wadwell (40-8) who struck out seven batters while allowing only one earned run.
- Louisville, meanwhile, managed just three hits off Irish pitcher Brittany Bargar, but had a chance to do serious damage in the bottom of the third with the bases full and one out. Cunningham hit a grounder that turned into a force out at home and pinch hitter Mandi Rodriguez struck out to end the inning.
- Originally scheduled for 2:30 p.m., the game didn’t begin until 8:10 p.m. because of heavy thunderstorms that rolled in immediately after the completion of the first game. Kudos to the UofL ground crew, who got the field covered quickly and prevented the washout.
- The Irish advance to play DePaul, who got a 4-0 win over South Florida in the first game of the day. Pitcher Becca Heteniak tossed a one hitter for the Blue Demons and hit a towering home run in the first inning with one on to provide her own margin of victory.
- The Cards are expected to be selected to play in the NCAA Tournament.