By Sam Draut–

In its final non-conference series of the season, Louisville softball swept NC Central in a three-game weekend series at Ulmer Stadium. Pitcher Maryssa Becker had a dominant performance on Sunday to close out the series and leadoff hitter Sidney Melton scored three runs as the Cardinals (29-9 overall, 11-4 in the ACC) defeated NC Central 8-0.

The circle: Becker had one of her best performances of the season and picked up her 17th win. She threw a complete game one-hit shutout. The junior had seven strikeouts in six innings and allowed two base runners.

Becker coasted through the middle innings after finding a rhythm early.

“That’s the thing you try to find at the beginning of every game,” Becker said. “I wanted to work on some things this weekend.”

Big blast: After Melton singled to leadoff the third inning and Becker drew a base on balls, Megan Hensley blasted a three-run homerun off the top of the scoreboard in left-center field. The long blast was the freshman’s 13th round tripper of the season, a team-high. Hensley is two RBI shy of the school’s program record for a freshman in season (50) set by Chelsea Bemis.

Spark plug: Coach Sandy Pearsall called leadoff hitter Melton the lineup’s “spark plug” last weekend and the shortstop showed why in the first inning on Sunday. Melton drew a leadoff walk and then stole second base. She is 15 for 15 on stolen base attempts this season. Melton scored on a single to left-centerfield by Becker, giving Louisville a 1-0 lead. Melton led off the third inning with a single and scored on a three-run homerun by Hensley. Using the formula once again in the fifth inning, Melton drew a walk and scored on a double by Becker.

Photo by Wade Morgen / The Louisville Cardinal