By Matt Bradshaw —

Louisville softball (28-15) defeated rival Kentucky (26-18) in a Wednesday-night thriller at Ulmer Stadium. After four lead changes and two ties, the Cardinals came out on top 8-7 in a walk-off victory.

With the 7-7 score in the bottom of the seventh, junior Celene Funke and senior Sidney Melton hit back-to-back singles to put Funke in scoring position. Freshman Taylor Roby then smacked one into centerfield, driving Funke home for the 8-7 win.

“It was a great game to play,” head coach Holly Aprile said. “I think our fan support is awesome and it is just so much fun to play in this park. In the last inning, we had our fast part of the lineup up…and a great job by Funke and Sidney to get themselves on, and then Roby came up with that big at-bat.”

Morale was already high before the game as Louisville dedicated its diamond to Don Dobina, who coached and supported the softball program along with remaining a U of L alumnus and donor until he passed away in 2016. The field at Ulmer Stadium will now be named Don Dobina Field.

“Don Dobina was a pioneer for women’s softball throughout the state of Kentucky and his support of the University of Louisville’s program is immeasurable,” athletic director Vince Tyra said. “We are proud to honor Don’s legacy as part of our own legacy by naming the field after him.”

The Cardinals followed the dedication with a fantastic performance against their rivals from Lexington. The Wildcats led 2-0 and 3-2 early in the game, but found themselves outdone by fantastic Louisville performances at the plate.

Along with posting the walk-off hit, Roby batted 2-for-5 at the plate with two RBIs. She also got the win on the mound, moving her to 11-1 on the season, as the freshman continues a stellar first year as a Cardinal.

Centerfielder Funke led the Cards with a terrific performance at the plate. She batted 4-for-5 with with four runs scored and an RBI. Funke hit her 10th triple of the season as well – she leads the nation in triples – and scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh.

Seniors Melton and Megan Hensley also played a part in the win. Melton batted 2-for-5 with two runs and an RBI, while Hensley batted 2-for-3 with a run and two RBIs.

Next up, Louisville softball hosts Georgia Tech in a three-game conference series starting Friday, April 18.

You can follow the Louisville Cardinal on Twitter @thecardsports.

Photos by Jessica Abell / The Louisville Cardinal