LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The IPFW Mastodons took 12th ranked and NCAA Regional host Louisville to the wire on Friday night, falling in a 2-1 thriller in the Mastodons' NCAA Tournament opener.
IPFW (34-15) will now face off against UCLA in the first elimination game of the tournament at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, as the Bruins were toppled 6-3 by the UAB Blazers in the first game of the day.
The Mastodons showed no signs of nervousness in the game, as IPFW pitcher Miranda Kramer struck out six batters through the first four innings, as each teams' offenses struggled early.
Louisville (47-11) ended the scoreless game in the bottom of the fifth inning, as the hosts used a hit, a hit by pitch, and an infield single to load the bases, before Jennifer Esteban singled off of third base, pushing pinch-runner Crisanna Roberts across the plate, putting the Cardinals ahead 1-0. The bases remained loaded, but Kramer got a strikeout, a pop out, and a ground out to end the threat in the inning.
IPFW wasted little time trailing, as sixth-inning leadoff hitter Alex Bousquet hit a full count pitch over the wall in right field to tie the score at one run apiece. Twin sister Ashleigh put a scare into the crowd at Louisville's Ulmer Stadium with a fly ball to left field that was caught on the warning track, as the home run stood as the only run for the Mastodons in the frame.
The Cardinals added right back with a run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Maggie Ruckenbrod reached second base on a dropped fly ball, before moving to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scoring on a sharp single up the middle. Louisville got another base hit before Kramer struck out the next two batters to close the inning after giving up just the solitary unearned run.
The Mastodons would not give up, using a hit by pitch and two errors to load the bases, before Louisville first baseman Alicja Wolny made a great stop on a lined shot down the line, and stepped on first base for the third and final out of the the inning, as the Cardinals held on for the narrow 2-1 victory.
Louisville, which came into the game hitting .339 as a team, was held to just six hits in 24 at-bats, with Kramer striking out nine batters in the loss. Kramer walked one, and hit one, giving up just one earned run in six innings of work, falling to 23-9 on the year.
Alex Bousquet, Ashleigh Bousquet, and Brittany Kachur had the team's three hits in the game, while Alex Bousquet scored and drove in the team's only run.
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