Virginia's Historic Season Ends with 7-4 Loss to Cardinals
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Virginia softball team (34-23) ended its historic season Saturday with a 7-4 loss to Louisville (41-18) in an elimination game in the NCAA Knoxville Regional.
The Cavaliers made its NCAA debut Friday and defeated the Cardinals 1-0 before falling twice Saturday, to Tennessee 11-2, and to Louisville.
With the win, U of L advances to Sunday’s championship round, where it will face Tennessee for the right to move on to the Super Regional. The Cardinals will have to beat the Lady Vols twice, whereas one win for Tennessee will clinch the berth.
On Saturday, three Virginia seniors – Nicole Koren, Abby Snyder and Sarah Tacke – played their final games as Cavaliers.
Louisville outhit Virginia 9-7 in the contest. Junior Lauren McCaskey led the way with a double and a triple while Alex Skinkis, Giannina Cipolloni, Taylor Williams, Snyder and Tacke each had singles.
Louisville jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Jordan Timble hit a two-out single to right and stole second. After Chelsea Bemis walked, Colby Wherry doubled to left center to score both runners.
Wherry then led off the fourth with a double to right center. Megan Bivins came on to pinch run and scored on Jennifer Esteban’s RBI single up the middle, as the Cardinals took a 3-0 advantage.
Both teams were scoreless for the next four innings, until the seventh when they combined to score eight runs in the stanza.
Louisville, the visiting team on the scoreboard, put up four runs on four hits to take a 7-0 lead as Virginia was down to its last three outs in the bottom of the seventh.
The Cavaliers did not go down quietly. With one out, Snyder got things started with a single to left. Williams then reached on a Louisville error and Skinkis followed with a RBI single to right, scoring Snyder. Williams came in to score on another error on the same play. The next batter, McCaskey, doubled down the left field line to bring home Skinkis and McCaskey would score on Tacke’s two-out RBI single to right.
The threat ended as Louisville was able to get the third out before the tying run reached the batter’s box.
Freshman pitcher Melanie Mitchell went the distance, allowing seven runs on nine hits. She also had two strikeouts and three walks.
Louisville’s Kristen Wadwell earned the win, also tossing all seven innings. She allowed four runs, two earned, on seven hits. Wadwell finished with three strikeouts and three walks.