By Matt Bradshaw —

In the first of a three-game series, U of L softball defeated Virginia 14-7. The Cardinals (25-12, 5-5) used an 11-run third inning to clinch the victory and move to .500 in ACC play.

The contest was a slug-fest with 21 runs scored. Junior Megan Hensley led Louisville at the plate, batting 3-for-4 with two home runs and four RBIs.

Hensley (10-5) got the win on the mound, allowing seven earned runs and striking out two.

Junior Sidney Melton led off the bottom of the first with a single up the middle. Freshman Maddy Newman pushed her to second base, then Melton scored on a throwing error by the Virginia third baseman.

The Cavaliers (11-26, 2-11) struck back in the top of the third with three runs. After a quick RBI single, Virginia put runners on second and third then drove in the pair for a 3-1 lead.

The Cardinals blew the game open with 11 runs in the bottom of the third. Virginia had five errors and allowed 10 runs before recording their first out.

Newman first tied the game with a two RBI single, then Melton scored on a fielding error for a 4-3 Louisville lead.

Hensley followed with a three-run home run, bringing the score to 7-3.

With bases loaded and still no outs, senior Jenna Jordan widened the lead to 10-3 with a right-field single.

Jordan scored on a fielding error, then Newman drove in sophomore Celene Funke with a RBI groundout. The Cardinals led 12-3 by the end of the third inning.

Virginia lessened the deficit to five runs in the top of the fourth. The Cavs used a RBI double and three-run homer for a 12-7 score.

Hensley gave Louisville a 13-7 lead with a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth. The junior leads the team with four home runs this season.

Freshman Kyra Snyder RBI singled in the bottom of the sixth for a 14-7 Cardinal lead. Louisville held Virginia scoreless in the top of the seventh to cap off the contest.

Softball faces Virginia in game two of the series on Saturday, April 6 at 3 p.m.

You can follow Matt Bradshaw on Twitter @bradmatt8.

Photo by Taris Smith / The Louisville Cardinal