GREENVILLE, N.C. — No. 21 Louisville used late-inning rallies to pick up two wins, defeating Hofstra 7-6 in nine innings and UNC Greensboro 5-4 Saturday in the East Carolina Pirate Clash. Sophomore Taner Fowler led the Cards offensively with a 5 for 9, seven RBI performance on the day. The Cardinals’ 9-0 start ties a school record set in the 2006 season.
“I could not be happier with our offense this weekend. We found a way to get it done over and over. With our backs against the way we persevered and came through with some big hits,” said Sandy Pearsall. “We have some work to do defensively and our pitchers need to find a way to close the door. With that said, this team has shown great heart, the pure toughness and fight in this team has been great to see.”
The first game of the day featured a roller-coaster ride of ties and lead changes over a three-hour span, but the Cardinals prevailed 7-6 against Hofstra in nine innings as Taner Fowler went 4 for 5 with four RBIs.
The Pride struck first when Tessa Ziemba led off the second inning with a double. She moved to third when Courtney Crews struck out, reached safely on a wild pitch. D.J. Slugh drew a walk to load the bases with two outs for Rachael Senatore who beat the throw on an infield single to score Ziemba.
Louisville answered in the fifth inning. Kristin Austin singled and came home on Taner Fowler’s two-out double to even the score at 1-1.
Hofstra regained the lead in the sixth when Ziemba walked and crossed the plate on Crews’ double to make it a 2-1 game.
With two outs in the seventh, and her team down 2-1, senior Kristin Austin delivered a single to place the tying run on first. Sophomore Katie Keller stepped up to the plate and with a 1-2 count, kept the rally alive with another single to place two runners on for Fowler. With the count 1-2 and down to her last strike, the sophomore catcher ripped a double to left field to give the Cards a 3-2 lead.
Hofstra matched the two-out heroics when Becca Bigler blasted a home run over centerfield to tie the score at 3-3 and send the game into extra innings. As the teams entered the eighth, Jordan Trimble was placed at second, due to the international tiebreaker rule. Two outs later, freshman Whitney Arion took a 1-2 count over the left field fence. The rookie rightfielder’s first career home run gave the Cardinals a 5-3 lead.
The Pride’s Olivia Galati was placed at second to start the inning and Courtney Crews was hit by a pitch to place the tying run and an error loaded the bases with one out. Tori Collins delivered a strikeout to get two outs in the inning before Ashley Ainbiner’s pinch-hit two-run single tied the game at 5-5.
The Cards answered again with another two-spot in the top of the ninth. Tesha Paysen started the inning runner at second, moved to third on Jennifer Esteban’s bunt single and was safe at the plate when Keller reached on a fielder’s choice. Fowler followed with an RBI triple to give U of L a 7-5 lead going into the bottom of the ninth.
The Pride started their rally in the home half of the inning when Krista Thorn was placed at second and moved to third when Galati reached on an error. Ziemba’s fielder’s choice plated Thorn to pull Hofstra within a run with two outs in the inning. Another Cardinal error placed runners on the corners, but the Pride’s rally ended when sophomore Caralisa Connell got Tori Rocha to ground out.
Collins got the win, allowing four runs, two earned, on four hits and striking out eight in 6.2 innings. Connell picked up her first save, surrendering one unearned run in 1.0 inning. In addition to Fowler’s four-hit performance, Esteban, Austin, Keller and Arion each had two hits as the Cards tallied 13 in the game.
Olivia Galati (0-1) took the loss for Hofstra (0-1) giving up seven runs, five earned on 13 hits and striking out five in 9.0 innings.
In their second game of the day, the Cards rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the fifth to win 5-4 and improve to 9-0 on the season.
U of L took an early 1-0 lead in the first when Kristin Austin walked, moved to third on Katie Keller’s single and came home on Fowler’s groundout. UNCG answered with two runs in the second. Toni MacReynolds drew a two-out walk and Tatiana Alcala followed with a hit. Aisha Figueroa’s triple gave the Spartans a 2-1 lead.
UNCG used three hits to score two more runs in the third. Alex Emeterio and Eileen Horsmon delivered back-to-back doubles and Katelyn Bedwell’s RBI single made it a 4-1 game.
The Cards began to chip away at the lead with two runs in the fifth. Trimble and Esteban opened the inning with bunt singles. Austin connected on an RBI double to score Trimble to cut the lead to 4-2. Esteban was safe at the plate when Fowler reached on a fielder’s choice to pull Louisville within one.
Down 4-3 with one out in the top of the seventh, Trimble worked a 3-2 count and sent a shot over the left field wall to tie the game at 4-4. A two-out triple by Austin set up Fowler’s RBI single for the game-winner.
Collins (5-0) picked up her second win of the day, holding the Spartans scoreless and striking out four in 1.2 innings of relief. Trimble was 3 for 3 with two runs and an RBI to lead the Cards at the plate. Fowler was 1 for 4 with three RBI and Austin was 2 for 3 with two runs and an RBI.
Cory Mattson (1-3) took the loss for UNCG (1-7), allowing two earned runs on three hits and striking out one in 2.0 innings.