May 14, 2010
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Four runs by Louisville in the first inning of Friday's BIG EAST Conference Softball Tournament semifinal matchup between the Cardinals and No. 24 Notre Dame made all the difference in the nationally televised showdown at Ulmer Stadium. Despite out-scoring the Cardinals, 2-1, after the opening stanza, the second-seeded Irish fell to third-seeded Louisville, 5-2.
Each of Notre Dame's last three losses in the BIG EAST Tournament have been at the hands of the Cardinals (2007, 2008 and 2010).
Notre Dame (45-10) will have to wait to find out where it is heading to continue the 2010 postseason. The brackets for the NCAA Tournament will be announced at 10 p.m. (ET) Sunday on ESPNU.
Melissa Roth sent the first offering from Jody Valdivia (36-5) over the fence for a solo home run to begin the game for the Cardinals (39-16). Louisville had two more hits that helped score three unearned runs in the frame to take a quick 4-0 lead.
Valdivia struck out one Cardinal and scattered eight Cardinal hits that produced two earned runs in the complete-game effort.
Louisville had a chance to expand the lead in the bottom half, but Valdivia left two runners on base by getting Katelyn Mann to look at strike three to end the frame.
The Irish painted the lines in the fourth as Heather Johnson singled down the left stripe with Christine Lux stroking another single which drew chalk past first base. Dani Miller reached on a fielder's choice to score pinch-runner Kelsey Thornton from third as the Cardinal lead was cut in half, 4-2.
Tori Collins (17-4) was pulled from the circle in favor of Kristen Wadwell in the top of the fifth. Collins, who gave up two earned runs on four hits with three punchouts in 4.0 innings, set things up nicely for Wadwell as the righty struck out five in 3.0 innings to earn the save.
Valdivia gave up a pair of singles in the fifth along with issuing a walk to Mann. Kristin Austin singled to shortstop to plate Louisville's fifth run of the contest.
Alexa Maldonado was hit by a pitch to lead things off in the sixth for the Irish, but was stranded on first as Wadwell struck out two of the next three batters.
Colby Wherry had two hits to lead all players.