One swing did it all Wednesday.
Kristin Austin's home run to lead off the fourth inning carried undefeated and 11th-ranked Louisville to a 1-0 victory over archrival Kentucky at the UK Softball Complex.
Tori Collins and Chelsea Leonard combined on a two-hitter, with seven strikeouts and one walk, as the Cardinals (28-0) extended their school-record winning streak. U of L, the only undefeated softball team in NCAA Division I, has won each of its last three games by one run and has eight one-run wins overall.
Wednesday was the first time the Cards had been limited to one run.
Did U of L Coach Sandy Pearsall feel pressure?
"Yeah, I did," she said. "Tried not to. Tried to enjoy it, and I'm still trying to enjoy it always, but it's tough. Every team is coming after us hard, and it's tough with that mid-season. It's tough to keep the fire up.
"I'm really proud of what this team's done as a group, because it's been a team effort."
UK starter Chanda Bell and reliever Rachel Riley combined on a six-hitter, striking out eight and walking one.
"Chanda came out and threw really well, and we certainly struggled to find a way," Pearsall said. "Austin hadn't hit one out. She just got a little lucky there, I think, and it popped out enough."
Austin, a slap hitter, lined a full-count offering just over the fence in left field.
"With the count ... in the slapper's favor, we put it close to the white because we don't want to walk them," UK Coach Rachel Lawson said. "Because you don't want to walk the leadoff, and their slapper, and she's fast and all that sort of stuff. It's actually more of a calculated risk, and she just really capitalized on it and put a lot of barrel on it."
The Wildcats (15-17) had lost eight in a row to U of L before rallying from a 7-0 deficit to win 14-8 last April.
They nearly pulled off another comeback in Wednesday's seventh inning.
Ginny Carroll drew a one-out walk.
One out later, Lauren Cumbess hit a popup down the first-base line.
Carroll was running, but Cumbess stood and watched as second baseman Katie Keller closed in — then dropped the ball for an error.
Cumbess recovered in time to reach first, but Carroll held up at third base. That left things to Emily Gaines, who struck out on a 2-2 pitch.
"Ginny should have gone ahead and scored," Lawson said. "I think everybody was so shocked that the girl at second didn't catch the ball. Then, when Cumbess didn't run, I think the whole focus was over there, and I think Ginny just didn't look ahead to take the extra base. ... Once Ginny didn't make that decision on her own, I want the game in Gaines' hands. It didn't work out this time, but a lot of times it will."
UK's only hits were a first-inning double by Brittany Cervantes and a seventh-inning single by Kara Dill. Cumbess also reached on a two-base fielding error.
"It always means a lot to beat UK, and it always feels amazing," said Collins, a senior left-hander. "In my four years here, we've only lost to them once, and I don't plan on that happening ever again. We go into every game expecting to win because you have to have that mentality."
U of L, which leads the all-time series 15-13, will play host to UK next Wednesday.