A defensive miscue put the Nevada softball team in a hole that it couldn’t overcome Saturday against Louisville in the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic.
The Cardinals scored three runs on one play – a Nevada error – in the third inning and though the Wolf Pack battled back, No. 18 Nevada fell 3-2 to the Cardinals.
Nevada fell to 6-2 on the year while Louisville, which is receiving votes in both major polls, improved to 7-2.
Nevada’s Katie Holverson (3-2) took the loss despite a strong performance. The junior gave up just five hits and did not walk a batter in the complete-game effort. She struck out four and gave up the three unearned runs.
The Pack had a chance at the end, trailing 3-2 in the seventh inning. Danielle Patrick reached on a bunt single and after Noelle Micka popped out on a bunt attempt, Kym Silagyi reached on an infield single to give Nevada runners on first and second with one out. But Brittany Puzey flew out to center and then Britton Murdock fouled out to end the game.
The loss ended Nevada’s three-game win streak.
After a pair of scoreless frames for both teams, things went badly for the Pack in the top of the third inning. With one out, Kristin Austin singled and Melissa Roth doubled to put runners on the corners. Vanessa James then hit a ground ball to third that Sam Bias fielded cleanly. Austin broke for home and the Pack had her trapped in a rundown. Roth moved to third base and James advanced to second but in the rundown, a throw by the catcher Micka went down the left field line and all three runs scored – unearned – on the play as the Cardinals took a 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Nevada loaded the bases with one out as Michelle Beach doubled, Sarah Hunt got hit by a pitch and Micka singled. Silagyi then left a ball over the third baseman’s head into left field but pinch-runner Kortnee Wiley was forced out at home on the play. Puzey then grounded out to the pitcher and the rally was quelled.
Nevada did get one run back in the bottom of the fourth inning as Murdock and Kelsey Starr led off with singles. After Bias struck out, Beach’s ground ball resulted in Starr out at second but it also scored Murdock from third base. That cut the deficit to 3-1.
And the Wolf Pack got another run back in the fifth inning. Silagyi drew a two-out walk and moved to third base on a double by Puzey. Silagyi then scored on a wild pitch by Louisville starter Kristen Wadwell and the score was 3-2.
But the Pack could get no closer and would suffer its second defeat on the season.