Cards Take Down Northwestern 21 to Advance to Regional Final

first_img The University of Louisville softball team used home runs from Taylor Roby and Sidney Melton and a complete-game win from sophomore Danielle Watson to upset the overall No. 16-seed host Northwestern 2-1 in the Evanston Regional Saturday afternoon at Drysdale Field. With the win, the Cardinals (35-21) remain in the winner’s bracket and advance to Sunday’s 2 p.m. (ET) regional final to face Northwestern in a rematch after the Wildcats posted an 8-1 victory in Saturday evening’s elimination game. The Cardinals collected two hits in the game, both home runs, and withstood a late-inning rally from Northwestern (44-11) as the Wildcats scored a run and had the tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh. Watson (12-14) scattered four hits and struck out six in 7.0 innings and the Louisville defense backed her with several outstanding plays. “This was a really fun game,” said UofL head coach Holly Aprile. “Northwestern is a great team, and I’ve said numerous times – as we’ve played them several times already and we’ve played some really fun games prior to that. We enjoy going at each other, it’s a real battle. They are well-coached, they play defense well, they pitch well and it is fun to go up against that and battle that out. To come up with a win here is huge, obviously, but we have more work to do, so that’s my focus, to get ready for the next game we play.”The game included a weather delay of more than three hours that started with the Cards leading 1-0 entering the bottom of the fourth. After a scoreless first inning, Louisville broke through in the top of the second when Taylor Roby took the first pitch she saw over the fence in right centerfield. The redshirt freshman’s fourth homer of the year gave Louisville a 1-0 lead. The game featured a pitchers’ duel through four and a half innings. Louisville’s Danielle Watson tossed a two-hit shutout with three strikeouts while Northwestern’s Danielle Williams struck out seven and allowed only one hit – Roby’s home run in the second – and went on to retire 12 straight batters before the game was delayed due to storms in the area in the middle of the fifth. The delay lasted 3:09 and the pitcher’s duel resumed. The Wildcats would deliver a hit, but go scoreless in the fifth. Melton led off the top of the sixth with her second home run in the regional to push the Cards ahead 2-0. A one-out error put a Northwestern runner on in the sixth, but the Cards used a double play from shortstop junior Caitlin Ferguson and first baseman sophomore Kyra Snyder to hold the Wildcats at bay. The Wildcats broke through in the seventh when Morgan Nelson drew a two-out walk and scored on Maeve Nelson’s double to bring the go-ahead run to the plate, but a groundout to Ferguson ended the game. This marks the fourth time the teams have met this season and the first time the Cardinals have prevailed with the Wildcats winning the first three meetings 1-0, 9-8 (nine innings), and 4-2 – all in the month of February.LOUISVILLE TEAM NOTES• Louisville is making its 14th NCAA appearance and first since 2016. This marks the first time the Cardinals have advanced to a regional final through the winner’s bracket, the fifth regional final in program history and the first since 2012 at the Louisville Regional. • Northwestern now leads the series 8-3• Louisville’s 35 wins mark the most victories in a season since 2016 when the Cards posted a 35-17 record. Print Friendly Version Next Game: vs. Northwestern 5/19/2019 | 2:00 p.m. ESPN3 Photo Gallery Louisville Postgame Press Conference Watch Live Full Schedule Roster Louisville 2 – Northwestern 1 Preview Live Stats Matchup History Story Linkslast_img

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