Cards post win in first NCAA regional appearance

The U of L softball team edged Missouri 1-0 in eight innings in the NCAA regional on Thursday and will now face host 4th-ranked UCLA this evening.

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, senior Shannon Nord delivered a double to deep right field and scored on sophomore Michelle Vasquez' RBI single as the University of Louisville softball team clinched a 1-0 win in the Cardinals' first NCAA regional appearance Thursday in NCAA Region 2 action hosted by UCLA. Junior Aja Sherman's eight-inning two-hitter helped Cards break a five-game losing streak and notch a program-best 41-17 record.

The Tigers' best scoring opportunity came in the top of the eighth when Kendra Power singled and stole second and Leanne Bowers reached on the first walk issued to the Tigers in the contest. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch and Sarah Stringer drew a two-out walk to load the bases. Sherman got the next Missouri batter to fly out to end the inning.

Offensively, U of L had five hits in the game. Nord was 2-for-3 with a double, a run and a stolen base. Sherman (16-6) tossed her eighth complete game shutout, scattering two hits and striking out seven in eight innings.

Missouri's Erica Peterson (3-3) took the loss, allowing one earned run on four hits and sriking out three in 2.2 innings. The Tigers fall to 29-25 on the season.

"We are pleased to get our first game in the NCAA regionals, especially since it's our first time here," said Louisville head coach Sandy Pearsall. "We've been struggling as of late to score runs and win those games in extra innings, so this was a big boost for us in our confidence. I think we're finally loosening up our team which has been playing extremely tight the last five or six games now. It goes a long way for us just to have made it here. Obviously, getting the first win is a big bonus and something that's going to help us not only through this regional, but in the future."

Louisville will play the region's top seed and fourth-ranked UCLA Friday at 5:30 p.m. (EDT).

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