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by Ryan Peloquin

The Wildcats had a tough weekend at the softball complex as they were swept by the No. 10 Louisville Cardinals.

After dropping both games of their Saturday double header, the ’Cats tried for redemption on Sunday.

Unfortunately, the result was the same for the  ’Cats, as they were blown out 8-1 in the series finale.

Game one was a 1-0 loss for the ’Cats.  Wildcat freshman pitcher Kate Poppe and Louisville junior starter Rachel Le Coq starred in this pitchers’ duel.

The stellar performances of both pitchers translated to the contest lasting only an hour and a half and producing a mere seven hits total.  Villanova and the Cards were a combined 0-20 with runners in scoring position.

In her 14th complete game of her season, Poppe surrendered three hits and four walks, while striking out five as she went the distance.

The only blemish on her afternoon came in the second when Louisville sophomore infielder Whitney Arion took her deep on a 0-1 count.  Poppe picked up her 16th loss of the season and her ERA sits at 2.45.

As good as Poppe was, Le Coq was even better.  She allowed four singles and struck out seven, en route to her 16th win.

Game two of the double header was close as well, but the ’Nova fell 5-4.  Louisville scored four runs in the top of the sixth to hand Villanova its 24th loss of the season.

Villanova’s offense came at the hands of two players, junior shortstop Ali Lowe and sophomore outfielder Beth Smetana.

Lowe got Villanova started in the third with an RBI triple, knotting the score at 1-1.  Smetana gave the ’Cats the lead with a bases loaded triple in the fifth.

The triple scored sophomore infielder Briana Fujii, senior first baseman Valerie Ortega and freshman outfielder Shea Palmer.

Junior starter Kaity Sitzman had Louisville hitters vexed until the sixth inning, when she was charged with three earned runs and an unearned.  She left the game after 5 2/3 innings in which she allowed seven hits, three walks and struck out two.

Louisville’s runs came on a two run single by senior designated hitter Katelyn Mann and an error by Villanova senior second baseman Taylor Olafson.  The error allowed two Cardinals to score; one earned and one unearned.

The series finale was of the blow out fashion, and the Cardinals flexed their muscles as the No. 10 team in the country.  The Cardinals improved to 42-6 on the season, with a 15-1 Big East record.

Sunday’s game ended with a final score of 8-1, and the first three innings consisted of a combined three hits.

Louisville busted this one open with a five-run fourth inning.  Arion started the inning with a single.  She advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, and eventually scored on a single by sophomore infielder Kayla Soles.

Junior second baseman Katie Keller had a two RBI single with the bases loaded later in the inning.  A line drive single by junior outfielder Jordan Trimble scored two and forced Villanova starter Poppe from the game.

Louisville was not done.  In the top of the sixth, Trimble hit a double into the right center gap, which scored one.  Senior first baseman Alicja Wolny followed with a two RBI single.

Villanova managed only one run in the finale, which came in the bottom of the fifth.

Senior outfielder Julie Smith singled to lead off the inning for the ’Cats, and was pinch run for by sophomore outfielder Elise Samoy-Alvarado.

Sophomore Randi Josett came up with a pinch hit double, which was followed by senior catcher Amanda Marquez reaching after getting hit by a pitch.

A wild pitch by Louisville pitcher Le Coq allowed Samoy-Alvarado to score.

After the weekend sweep, the Wildcats sit at a record of 15-25 with a 2-14 conference record.  The Wildcats sit in the basement of the Big East and currently own a five game losing streak.

In the month of April, Villanova is 4-10 averaging 1.2 runs per game, while surrendering 4.6 runs per game. The last Wildcat victory came on April 11th against the University of Pennsylvania.

Up next, the Wildcats will travel to Lafayette to take on the Leopards in a two game stint.

The Leopards own a dismal 11-34 record, including a 2-6 home record.  The Lafayette double header will take place today.

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